Recovery trends after the Corona standstill

Peter Mohnen © Kuka AG
Peter Mohnen © Kuka AG

Following the slump in the economy caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the first half of the year, there were initial signs of recovery at Kuka in the third quarter of 2020.

Kuka’s order intake increased significantly between July and September, reaching €752.4 million, up 20.4% on the third quarter of 2019 (€624.8 million) and 36.4% on the previous quarter (Q2/20: €551.7 million). The book-to-bill ratio, i.e. the ratio of orders received to sales, was 1.09 (Q3 /19: 0.75) and shows the recovery in the past quarter.

“Behind these figures is a strong performance and great commitment from our employees. We have increased our customer focus in these challenging times. Kuka was able to convince in the market under the most difficult conditions and win significantly more orders than in the same period last year and in the second quarter. Even if customers are still extremely reluctant to invest, this also shows that automation is increasingly coming into focus,” explained Peter Mohnen, Chairman of the Executive Board of Kuka AG, this success.

Compared to the losses in the first half of the year, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) improved significantly to € 7.6 million. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, EBIT declined (Q3/19: € 35.6 million). Revenues fell by 16.9 % to € 692.0 million.

The reason for the decline in EBIT and sales was the significantly weaker order intake in the first half of the year due to the Corona pandemic. Kuka countered this at an early stage with disciplined efficiency measures and was able to achieve black figures and a positive quarterly free cash flow of € 58.8 million in the third quarter despite significantly lower sales (Q3/19: € -13.9 million).

“We initiated the right measures early on and worked on our costs, and this is now having an effect. This has enabled us to cushion the massive impact of the coronavirus pandemic somewhat,” Peter Mohnen continues.

Nevertheless, the situation remains tense. The worsening of the Corona situation could lead to renewed restrictions in business operations and restraint on the part of customers. In total, revenues amounted to € 1,860.8 million in the first nine months, down 21.6 % year-on-year. The Group’s EBIT decreased to -€70.5 million compared to the previous year’s figure (9M/19: €81.4 million). The EBIT margin fell to -3.8 % in the first nine months of 2020.

“We have challenging months ahead of us with great uncertainties as to how the pandemic and the general economic situation will continue to develop,” Peter Mohnen predicted. “We continue to look closely at where we can better position ourselves. We have to work hard to adapt to the changes brought about by Corona and to support our customers as a strong partner. Because robotics and automation offer great potential and are gaining importance right now.”