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Oerlikon records its best result in years

Oerlikon makes reflectors for surgical lamps in its range of high-tech products (OC Oerlikon)

The Swiss technology group OC Oerlikon has reported a net profit of SFr302 million ($248.6 million) for 2006, its best performance in six years.

This content was published on March 27, 2007 - 11:59

The takeover of engineering company Saurer and an ongoing restructuring programme boosted results at the company, which made a net profit of SFr21 million in 2005.

"Overall we are optimistic that we will be able to continue to achieve above-average growth in our markets and to realise profit margins above the average through the efficient management of the group," commented Oerlikon chairman Georg Stumpf in a statement.

The group, formerly Unaxis, has been controlled by the Austrian Victory investment company since June 2005 after a highly emotional and drawn-out takeover battle.

Oerlikon, which makes coatings for Formula One racing car engines and equipment that makes compact discs, said operating profit rose to SFr329 million compared with SFr34 million the previous year.

Sales rose 42.7 per cent to SFr2.3 billion. They are expected to be more than SFr5 billion in 2007, the group said.

With orders received up 80.9 per cent to SFr2.6 billion and a four-fold increase in orders on hand to SFr1.6 billion the situation is "excellent", it added.

Oerlikon described its SFr2 billion acquisition of textile machinery and car parts maker Saurer as the "highlight in a year of new departures".

The group's business volume and staff numbers were tripled overnight with the acquisition.

"Overall, the Oerlikon group is today more efficient, more innovative and more attractive than it has ever been in recent times," chief executive Thomas Limberger commented.

The company said it would continue to pursue its chosen growth path vigorously, noting that opportunities for future growth and for making market share gains were "far from exhausted".

Stumpf remained tight-lipped about potential takeover targets, including speculation over Swiss engineering firm Sulzer.

But he acknowledged that the 14 per cent Oerlikon stake held by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg's private equity group Renova could help open doors in the rapidly expanding Russian market.

"Our main expansion focus is in the US and Asia, but Russia is also a very important market. In Russia a lot of things will take place in the future," Stumpf told swissinfo.

"We think that with Viktor Vekselberg our positioning is as good as it gets and this provides an excellent basis to expand into these markets with his help."

In a related development, on March 29 Oerlikon announced that it had accepted a request by Limberger to forego his 40,000 options in the company, thus effectively reducing his total remuneration for 2006 from SFr26 million to SFr7.7 million.

This follows public outcry after the total amount the chief executive earned was published in the latest annual report.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

2006 financial figures
Sales: SFr2.291 billion (SFr1.605 billion in 2005)
Operating profit: SFr329 million (SFr34)
Net profit: SFr302 million (SFr21 million
Number of employees at the end of December: 19,267 (6,434)

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OC Oerlikon

The group is the world leader in coating solutions and textile machinery, and is number two in the area of vacuum technology.

As an example, 70% of the global production of CDs and CD-ROMs is manufactured on the company's equipment.

Its high-tech applications can be found in cars, satellites, machines, textile products, solar panels, MP3 players and beamers.

In 2006, Oerlikon invested SFr60 million in research and development. Including Saurer, there are more than 1,500 researchers, developers and engineers working for the group.

OC – which stands for "One Company" - Oerlikon has had a number of name changes over the years. Before its present name, it was called Unaxis. Previously it was Oerlikon-Bührle.

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