German battery systems manufacturer Voltabox recorded a loss in Q3 – despite increasing sales. Nevertheless, Voltabox board member Jürgen Pampel sees the company as being on the right track and expects a profit again for 2020.
According to the recently published Group Interim Report as of September 30, 2019, Voltabox achieved sales of 37.9 million euros in the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, which corresponds to an increase of 13.2 per cent compared to the same period of the previous year. EBIT was minus 11.4 million euros, the EBIT margin after three quarters was minus 30 per cent, but an improvement in the fourth quarter was foreseeable.
“At the beginning of August, we initiated a large number of measures due to foreseeable postponements of revenue, which have now been implemented. We are adjusting our costs in accordance with the postponed business development as quickly as possible,” says Jürgen Pampel, CEO of Voltabox AG. The main reasons for adjusting the sales and earnings forecast were the partial postponement of a major order to the American subsidiary Voltabox of Texas (where mobile phone masts were to be equipped with Li-Ion batteries) until 2020 and the conversion of a vital cell supplier to the latest technology.
“As a matter of course, these revenue postponements and the resulting negative impact on earnings will continue to exert an influence on the second half of the year,” says Pampel. With each coming month where the countermeasures should take effect, the company CEO expects the company to return to “normality”.
In its current quarterly report, the company confirmed its forecast for the year as a whole, revised in August: sales are expected to be between 70 and 80 million euros and the EBIT margin between -8 and -9 per cent. Given sales of just under 38 million euros after three quarters, Voltabox must, therefore, achieve a strong final quarter to meet the sales margin above.
In the coming year, Voltabox will strive for a sustained return to profitability: For the fiscal year 2020, the battery systems manufacturer expects sales to grow to 85 to 100 million euros with an EBIT margin of between five and seven per cent. “The sustainable growth of Voltabox has absolute priority,” explains Klaus Dieter Frers, Chairman of the Supervisory Board. “There is no reason to pay dearly for revenue. We are taking the time that we need. Systematically gearing up the company for a successful year in 2020 is much more important.”
One of the projects for 2020 is cooperation with e-troFit. The company offers conversions from diesel buses to electric drives. Voltabox will supply the battery systems, other partners of e-troFit are ZF and Valeo for projects in Germany, as well as several in Africa and South America. The German company expects that business from batteries for the conversion of diesel buses will make its first contribution to revenue in the high single-digit million range in the coming year. With a view to the projects planned by e-troFit, the company expects a significant increase in demand for such battery systems for buses and eventually trucks soon.
The production of battery modules and systems for forklift trucks is expected to continue to drive sales in the fiscal year 2020. Besides, growing sales should also come from the low-voltage battery business – such as pedelecs, e-bikes and golf carts as well as starter batteries for high-performance motorcycles and passenger cars. In the coming year, the Management Board also intends to “sustainably” expand their US location.
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