Net financial debt was reduced by € 36 million to € 60 million as of the end of 2007. The number of employees rose by 5% to 5,936 mainly due to growth in Asia. “2007 was a good year for Dürr. We delivered what we had announced. The effects of our Group-wide FOCUS program fed through fully in 2007. On the basis of the strong improvement in earnings we are proposing to the Supervisory Board that we pay a dividend to our shareholders for the first time since 2002,” Ralf W. Dieter, CEO of Dürr AG, commented in summing up, and added: “The high level of incoming orders, especially from the growth regions, has continued in the first two months of 2008. We succeeded in turning round the North America business in 2007, and won a number of orders which will assure a good level of capacity utilization until well into 2009.”
Incoming orders booked by the Dürr Group rose to € 1,781 million (2006: € 1,460 million). This positive development was driven both by the Paint and Assembly Systems division (paint, assembly and environmental systems) and the Measuring and Process Systems division (cleaning and balancing technology). Geographically, the growth in demand came especially from Eastern Europe and Asia. The North America business picked up strongly, too. Dürr increased its capital expenditure by 64% to € 29 million (2006: € 18.0 million), a main focus being the harmonization of the Group’s IT infrastructure, with which the company is further improving the efficiency of its processes.
As expected, the fourth quarter of 2007 was by far the strongest quarter of the year. Compared to the same quarter of 2006, sales were up 22% while EBIT was up 53%. Incoming orders and operating cash flow exceeded expectations, with increases of 58% and 70%, respectively. In the fourth quarter of 2007 operating cash flow came to € +119 million.
In view of the high order backlog (December 31, 2007: € 1,082 million), Group sales should increase by between 5% and 10% in 2008. Earnings should improve substantially thanks to more efficient processes. For 2008, the company targets an EBIT margin of 5%.
The full annual financial statements for 2007 will be presented at the financial press conference on March 20, 2008, in Stuttgart after they have been approved by the Supervisory Board.
The Dürr Group is a supplier of plant and equipment that commands leading global market positions in almost all its areas of activity. Business with the automotive industry accounts for about 90% of its sales. Dürr also supplies innovative manufacturing and environmental technologies for the aviation, mechanical engineering, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
The Dürr Group operates in the market through two divisions. The Paint and Assembly Systems division supplies production and painting technologies, mainly for automotive body & chassis manufacturing. The equipment and systems supplied by the Measuring and Process Systems division are used, among other things, for engine and transmission production and for final vehicle assembly. Dürr achieved sales of close to € 1.5 billion with approximately 6,000 employees in 2007. Dürr is present in over 45 locations in 21 countries around the world.