The Nordex Group posted an 8.3 percent increase in sales to EUR 198.3 million in the first quarter of 2012 (previous year: EUR 183.1 million). As expected, business volume thus accounted for just under 20% of the forecast full-year sales. This cyclical effect is typical of the wind power industry. Sales were particularly underpinned by business in Europe, the most important sales region, in which business volume rose by 17.2% to EUR 169.3 million.
Operating profit was burdened by below-average capacity utilisation and lower margins on projects. Earnings before interest and taxes amounted to a loss of EUR 9.0 million in the first quarter of 2012 (Q1/2011: EBIT of EUR 0.4 million). At the same time, Nordex lowered its structural costs by some 10%, including a 41.3% reduction in net other operating expenses. The consolidated loss after interest and taxes amounted to EUR 14 million (Q1/2011: loss of EUR 1.8 million).
In the period under review, Nordex’s liquidity increased to EUR 230.7 million (31 December 2011: EUR 212 million). As a result, the group was able to trim its net debt to EUR 23.4 million (31 December 2011: EUR 54.0 million) chiefly thanks to systematic working capital management. Thus, Nordex largely postponed commencing work on projects which are to be completed later on in the year. This is also reflected in the substantial increase to EUR 34.8 million in net cash flow from operating activities (Q1/2011: net cash outflow of EUR 84.5 million) and the only moderate increase in business volumes. Free cash flow increased to a positive EUR 25.7 million (Q1/2011: negative EUR 94.9 million).
Order intake was particularly encouraging, rising to EUR 312 million (Q1/2011: EUR 154 million). As a result, the order book grew to EUR 837 million (Q1/2011: EUR 402 million), thus creating a solid basis for the company to achieve its full-year sales target. The Management Board of Nordex SE confirms its forecast for 2012 of an increase in sales to EUR 1.0 - 1.1 billion. Depending on sales and price trends, Nordex also expects to achieve an EBIT margin of between 1% and 3%. With rising capacity utilisation and profitability of the projects still to be executed, this profit will be achieved entirely in the second half of the year.