MAX Automation with slightly positive operating result in the first half of 2020 despite COVID-19 influence

DGAP-News: MAX Automation SE / Key word(s): Half Year Results
13.08.2020 / 07:30
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MAX Automation with slightly positive operating result in the first half of 2020 despite COVID-19 influence

- Order intake at Group level of mEUR 133.4 (-32.8% y-o-y) characterized by customers' reluctance to invest; core business at mEUR 110.7 (-34.5% y-o-y)

- Group sales of mEUR 152.1 (-18% y-o-y); core business with mEUR 135.5 (-10.4% y-o-y) in line with expectation adjusted due to COVID-19

- Slightly positive EBITDA at Group level at mEUR 0.5 (H1 2019: mEUR -5.9); EBITDA in core business at mEUR 9.4 (-41.1% y-o-y)

- Still no specific forecast for 2020 as a whole in view of uncertainties associated with COVID-19 pandemic

Dusseldorf, 13 August 2020 - In the first half of 2020, the Group continued to work consistently on its strategic realignment. However, MAX Automation SE (ISIN DE000A2DA58), listed in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, was significantly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The worldwide measures to contain the pandemic led to a weak second quarter for MAX Automation. Customers were reluctant to invest, which prevented orders from being placed or led to postponements of orders. As a result, the pandemic is now delaying expected growth following the initiated Group realignment. At business segment level, the development was varying. The majority of the Group companies saw a revival of market activity from June 2020.

Overall, the order intake of the Group declined by 32.8% to mEUR 133.4 compared to the previous year. In the core business, the decline was 34.5% to mEUR 110.7. Process Technologies' order intake was driven primarily by dispensing technology, while orders from the automotive industry for impregnation technology were postponed. Environmental Technologies was adversely affected by lower demand in the USA, partly due to lower oil prices. In addition, the company had received substantial major projects in the previous year. However, orders for recycling and mobile trucks were gained again in June despite COVID-19. In Germany, demand from the wood industry was high. Evolving Technologies with successes in medical technology and packaging automation was able to partially cushion the decline in press automation and robotics. Assembly lines for the collection and quality control of blood analysis tubes, which are used, among other things, for the detection of the COVID-19 pathogen, underline the high innovative power and strong positioning of MAX Automation in promising industrial segments. In the non-core business, order intake was down as planned by 22.8% to mEUR 22.7, due in particular to the announced closure of IWM Automation in Porta Westfalica. Despite COVID-19, ELWEMA achieved a good order intake with repeat and conversion orders in the automotive industry and substantially reduced working capital.

The order backlog at Group level fell by 30.2% to mEUR 179.8 as of 30 June 2020. The major orders received during the fourth quarter of 2019 ensured robust production activity even during the lockdown and will secure basic capacity utilization for the full year 2020.

Sales at Group level fell by 18.0% to mEUR 152.1 in the first half of 2020. The core business generated a comparatively lower decline of 10.4% to mEUR 135.5. Process Technologie was able to partially compensate for the decline in sales with an increased service share and posted a minus of 22.0% to mEUR 25.1. By contrast, Environmental Technologies reported sales of mEUR 56.2 in the USA, almost on a par with the previous year (-1.7% y-o-y) thanks to faster implementation of major projects. In Evolving Technologies, project acceptances in medical technology and packaging automation mitigated the impact of corona-related interruptions in press automation and robotics in particular. Sales in this segment declined by 11.6% to mEUR 53.8. From June onwards, almost all companies showed a noticeable upward trend with a slight recovery in business performance.

As a result of the measures taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, MAX Automation Group consistently pursued cost management. Despite the adverse effects of COVID-19, the MAX Group achieved slightly positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of mEUR 0.5 (H1 2019: mEUR -5.9) in the first half of 2020 after an operating loss in the same period of the previous year. EBITDA in the core business was down 41.1% on the previous year to mEUR 9.4. It should be noted that the previous year's figures have been adjusted to the balance sheet as of 31 December 2019 in order to facilitate comparison. As a result of pandemic-induced delays in commissioning, EBITDA fell by 55.8% to mEUR 3.0 in Process Technologies and by 34.9% to mEUR 4.7 in Evolving Technologies. EBITDA in Environmental Technologies rose by 2.4 % to mEUR 6.4 following the accelerated progress of high-margin projects.

Cash and cash equivalents amounted to mEUR 32.2 at 30 June 2020 (31 December 2019: mEUR 40.6). The Group's liquidity position continues to ensure sufficient flexibility despite increased net debt in the first half of 2020; the objective remains a significant reduction in net debt.

Outlook 2020: COVID-19 pandemic determines further course - prospect of stabilization

The Management Board of MAX Automation SE expects the economic development in the second half of the year to remain strongly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding health policy measures to contain the virus. Following an operating loss in the same period of the previous year, MAX Automation's positive EBITDA in the first half of 2020 shows the Group is well on track to focus on its core business despite the adverse effects of the pandemic. The initiated de-risking measures and greater independence from cyclically sensitive business ensure a more stable position. For the second half of the year, the Management Board currently sees signs of a stabilizing order situation and market recovery, with the result that postponed orders could be made up for and customers could resume their investment activities. However, the outcome will depend on the extent to which the pandemic can be contained worldwide, and new waves of infection prevented.

Notwithstanding an emerging positive trend in recent weeks, a concrete forecast is still not possible in a serious manner in view of the pandemic. MAX Automation still does not expect to achieve sales of between mEUR 380 and mEUR 410 with EBITDA of between mEUR 16 and mEUR 20 as originally forecast for the 2020 financial year but will close the financial year clearly below the original forecast. Nevertheless, the objective remains to consistently implement the strategic changes initiated at MAX Automation and to develop the Group into a more stable, profitable, and future-oriented group of companies.

Detailed financial information

The complete interim report for the first half of 2020 of MAX Automation SE is available for download at


Katja Redweik    
Head of Corporate Development/IR    
MAX Automation SE    
Tel.: +49 - 211 - 9099 144    

Contact for media representatives:

Susan Hoffmeister     Marco Cabras
CROSS ALLIANCE communication GmbH     newskontor - Agentur für Kommunikation
Tel.: +49 - 89 - 125 09 03 33     Tel.: +49 - 211 - 863 949 22

About MAX Automation SE

MAX Automation SE (WKN: A2DA58), based in Düsseldorf, is an internationally active industrial group for high-tech automation solutions. The operating business is divided into three divisions: in its Process Technology segment, the Group's comprehensive technological Expertise makes it an innovation leader in the development and manufacture of proprietary solutions (e.g. dosing, impregnation), particularly for the automotive and electronics industries. In its Environmental Technology segment, MAX Automation develops and installs technologically complex systems for the recycling, energy and raw materials industries. The Evolving Technologies division of MAX Automation develops high-quality assembly and system solutions for the medical technology and automotive industries as well as for robotics and augmented automation.

13.08.2020 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG.
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