Annual Results for 2008-2009: Miba Holds Its Own in a Year of Extremes

  • Organic sales growth despite sharp decline in demand in the fourth quarter
  • EBIT margin increases to 9.2% from 7.1% 

  • Focus is on strengthening sales and R&D activities in 2009-2010


Miba, a strategic partner to the international engine and automotive industry, generated consolidated sales of 374.6 million euros in 2008-2009. This represents a 2.1 percent increase over the previous year in comparable terms – after adjustment for the sales loss resulting from the disposal of the Spanish site – despite a sharp drop in demand in the fourth quarter. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose by 25% to 34.5 million euros, substantially outstripping the sales increase.

“The 2008-2009 business year will be remembered as a year of extraordinary change,” notes Peter Mitterbauer, Miba’s Chairman and CEO. “New orders reached record levels up through late summer. But when the financial crisis spread to the real economy in the fourth quarter, Miba’s target markets declined with unprecedented intensity and speed.”

Miba responded to this trend early on by positioning itself clearly and strategically as a supplier of technologically sophisticated products and by insisting on cost efficiency in all areas. As a result of these quick actions, the company was able to improve its performance in 2008-2009 in spite of economic developments. The EBIT margin increased to 9.2%, up from 7.1% a year earlier. Approximately 19 million euros was spent on research and development in order to maintain and expand Miba’s technology leadership.


Investments at a Record Level

A total of 43.1 million euros was invested within the Miba Group in production capacity and product quality (compared with 36 million euros in 2007-2008). Of this amount, 30 million euros was invested in Miba’s Austrian facilities.

Sales (in million €)

2008/09   374.6
2007/08   387.7
EBIT (in million €)
2008/09   34.5
2007/08   27.6
EBT (in million €)
2008/09   30.9
2007/08   24.6
Investments in fixed assets (in million €)
2008/09   43.1
2007/08   36.0
Number of employees (yearly average)
2008/09   2,855
2007/08   2,706

Cash flow from operations rose to 61.4 million euros, up from 53.6 million euros a year earlier. This is essentially the result of an increase in operating income. This meant that investments could again be fully financed out of the company’s own capital resources. The 57.9% equity ratio underscores Miba’s solid capital structure and guarantees financial independence.

Miba had an average of 2,855 employees worldwide in 2008-2009, compared with 2,706 the previous year. As of January 31, 2009, the reporting date, the headcount totaled 2,825 (up from 2,730 on January 31, 2008). The increase in personnel was chiefly the result of capacity expansion measures in the first quarter and affected Miba’s Austrian sites primarily. The pronounced deterioration in the economic climate that began in the fall of 2008 made it necessary to adjust capacities to the market environment very quickly. Comprehensive human resources adjustments ranged from the systematic reduction of vacation and overtime credits to workforce reduction focusing specifically on temporary workers. Short- time working hours were subsequently introduced at the plants in Vorchdorf and Roitham, although this occurred after the reporting date. 


Miba Bearing Group: The Leading Business Unit for the First Time

Miba Bearing Group finished the business year with another record sales figure totaling 160.4 million euros. It generated 42.6% of total Miba Group sales and was therefore the leading business unit for the first time ever. In target sectors such as heavy-duty commercial vehicles and ships, the order levels reached all-time highs due to the huge demand for transport capacities. Capacity bottlenecks at all of Miba Bearing Group’s sites were a defining feature in 2008-2009. To counter this trend, capital investment increased to 20.8 million euros from 11.9 million the previous year.

Miba Sinter Group Feels Impact of Slowdown in Automotive Industry

In accordance with the general economic trend, Miba Sinter Group experienced very encouraging growth on into the late summer, posting higher figures up to that point than in the same period a year earlier. But with the slowdown in the automotive industry in the fall, customer call-offs began to decline significantly. Because of the sharp drop in demand in the fourth quarter, Miba Sinter Group sales in 2008-2009 totaled 135.4 million euros, falling below the prior-year level (160 million euros) and accounting for 36% of total Miba Group sales revenues. After adjustment for the sintering plant in Spain, which was sold in business year 2007-2008, the sales deficit was approximately 3%. The drop in demand that began in the fall led immediately to the implementation of comprehensive action plans at all sintering locations. This primarily involved adjusting production capacities through temporary plant shutdowns.


Miba Friction Group Boosts Sales by 9%

In spite of a weak fourth quarter, Miba Friction Group sales rose to 76.5 million euros, an increase of about 9%. This business unit thus generated 20.2% percent of total Miba sales. Although there was healthy growth in demand in the agricultural equipment sector throughout the year, sharp declines were posted in the automotive and construction equipment segments as the year drew to a close.

Outlook: Surviving the Crisis with Permanent Staff

Given the current economic conditions, the beginning of 2009-2010 has proved to be a challenge for Miba. Despite the billions in economic stimulus packages in the industrialized countries, Miba’s core markets are not yet reinvigorated. Current call-off volumes are significantly below the prior-year level, depending on the target market and customer, and indicate that the sales level will be 25% lower than in 2008-2009. It is not possible from today’s perspective to give a reliable estimate of growth during the current fiscal year. In addition, the tendency towards short-term call-offs on the part of Miba’s customers increases the complexity of corporate planning. Miba assumes that there will not be a substantial improvement until 2010 at the earliest.

Miba has made early preparations in all business units for a demanding market environment. Competitive cost structures, a solid liquidity base, and highly qualified employees are the crucial factors that will enable the company emerge from this recession in stronger shape. The goal is to be able to retain most of the permanent staff through flexible work schedules and salary models.

The focus in 2009-2010 will be on strengthening sales and R&D activities in order to safeguard Miba’s product and technology leadership in its core sectors over the long term. With its research focus on high-performance, safe and environmentally friendly power train technologies, Miba is effectively geared to its customers’ requirements.