Oerlikon Manmade Fibers Segment posted record-level sales and operating profitability improvement in the fiscal year ending in December 2018.
The segment order intake climbed 44.8% to CHF 1,157 million, and sales jumped 57.3% to CHF 1,098 million. These results reflected healthy demand in the segment’s core filament equipment market for fibers, which consequently boosted orders and sales for texturing systems. In the U.S., robust demand for carpet yarn equipment also contributed to the strong performance. Additionally, the segment’s nonwoven business posted an impressive increase in sales, underlining its initial success in establishing a foothold in this market.
The segment experienced growth across all key regional markets, most notably in China, the U.S. and Latin America. The segment continued to gain market share, and generated a robust order pipeline with deliveries into 2021, laying the groundwork for sustaining a high level of top-line results over the next few years.
Segment profitability improved substantially in 2018, with EBITDA more than doubling (up 129%) to CHF 128 million, or 11.7% of sales, versus CHF 56 million, or 8.0% of sales, in 2017. EBIT stood at CHF 106 million in 2018, or 9.6% of sales (2017: CHF 33 million, or 4.7% of sales).
To solidify its market position, the segment made two strategic acquisitions in 2018. With AC-Automation, the segment extended its smart plant portfolio with a large-scale plant automation solution for customers in the textile and packaging industries. The acquisition of technologies from PE Polymer Engineering Plant Construction enabled the segment to expand its product range to cover the entire polyamide process chain for fibers and filaments. In line with its strategy to focus on core businesses, the segment sold its tapes and monofilament business to the Austrian Starlinger Group. In 2018, the segment also signed an agreement with Shaoyang Textile Machinery in China in order to penetrate the disposable nonwovens market.