Bene releases its first half year results. Austrian manufacturer of professional furniture Bene, released its results for the first half year of fiscal 2014/2015 (1 Feb. 2014 – 31 July 2014).
Sales fell on a group-wide basis compared to the same period in the previous year by 10.7 % to EUR 73.5 million (HY1 2013/14: EUR 82.3 million).
Bene achieved positive EBITDA before restructuring costs in the first half of the financial year, with all earnings figures improving considerably compared to the same period in the previous year and with the gross profit margin increasing to 56.9 %. Bene was able to achieve a positive EBITDA before restructuring costs, both in the first as well as in the second quarter of the current financial year.
Although restructuring costs still prevented it from fully breaking even, Bene has improved all of its earnings figures. For instance, the EBITDA according to IFRS was EUR -1.5 million, compared with EUR -8.4 million in the same period in the previous year. The deficits related to EBIT (EUR -5.2 million compared with EUR -13.5 million previously) and earnings before taxes (EUR -7.2 million compared with EUR -15.9 million previously) were also substantially reduced.
Bene increased its sales in the UK by 46.5 % in the reporting period. Bene more than doubled its sales in the attractive future market of the “Middle East”, with a EUR 4.4 million increase.
Bene managed to increase its gross profit by around EUR 1.1 million or 2.6 % despite the fall in revenue. Bene’s gross profit margin increased to 56.9 % and this is now at a level which management has been striving to achieve as a sustainable target amount.
The cost-reduction measures implemented were reflected in a significant reduction in personnel expenses and in other operating expenses. Adjusted for the one-off effects from the restructuring, these costs fell in total by around EUR 5.6 million.
The headcount as at 31 July 2014 was 1,109 (31 July 2013: 1,252 people).
Consolidated total assets have fallen since the start of the 2014/15 financial year by a further EUR 3.2 million to EUR 92.2 million (31 January 2013: EUR 95.4 million). The equity also fell as a result (31 July 2014: EUR -29.5 million) as did the equity ratio.
The net working capital decreased by around EUR 1.9 million compared with 31 January 2014 despite the launch of the major project in Abu Dhabi. Corresponding to this, the cash flow from operating activities was virtually even in the first half of 2014/15.
New sales strategy
In response to the sustained changes in the competitive situation, Bene developed and has already begun implementing a new sales concept with a focus on integrated applications and office solutions. Accordingly, Bene will concentrate regional sales activities on certain major international cities and align the sales organisation along the three sales channels of “project business”, “dealer support” and “direct business”.
At the same time, Bene has fine-tuned its target customer segments and defined potential customer groups which are open to innovative employee- and design-oriented solutions, and has also adapted its marketing structure and activities.
Bene’s Management Board is convinced that it will be able to implement the restructuring for the Bene Group in accordance with the plan and is confident in its target of achieving sales levels of around EUR 200 million again in the medium term. In the 2014/15 financial year Bene is expected to realise sales at the previous year’s level and a positive EBITDA margin before restructuring.