Wolfgang Schäfer, CFO Continental

© Continental

Quotes “Continental Webcast Fiscal Year 2014“

© Continental

Dr. Elmar Degenhart, CEO Continental: 

“We are pleased to look back at another extremely successful financial year 2014 during which we achieved our targets.”

 “When evaluating the results, we should not overlook the fact that there was, in some cases, very weak growth in Europe, Russia, and South America. There were also significant exchange rate fluctuations. In addition, the mild winter at the end of 2014 had a negative impact on the winter tire business in Europe. The driving force behind the sales development once again came from China and North America. In light of this, it is remarkable that profit after taxes of just under €2.4 billion or €11.88 per share could be achieved.”

“On this basis, we intend to increase the dividend for the third time in a row. We are proposing a distribution of €3.25 per share, corresponding to a dividend payout ratio of 27.4 percent, which is again up slightly on the previous year's level.”

“Another noteworthy aspect is the strong free cash flow of more than €2 billion. This enabled us to reduce net indebtedness to its lowest level since 2006.”

“At the same time, we invested more than €4 billion, in property, plant and equipment, software, and research and development. The capital expenditure ratio is again expected to be around 6 percent in the current fiscal year.”

“We are consolidating our position as one of the leading technology companies in the automotive industry. Research and development expenditure of another 6 percent of our sales or around €2.1 billion is fueling our capacity for innovation. There are very few companies in the industry that are able to operate in these dimensions.”

“We are focusing on the increasing need for mobility and growing demand from our industrial customers. The production volume for vehicles weighing up to six tons is expected to rise to between 100 million and 105 million vehicles. Furthermore, installation of electronics and software will continue to grow substantially, driven by growing demands from end-users and increasingly strict legal requirements for safety and energy consumption. It is partly on this basis that we are aiming for profitable sales of over €50 billion in 2020.”

“Much like us, our customers are rigorously working to improve their profitability and capacity for innovation. For us, this means doing everything possible when it comes to efficiency, effectiveness, and innovations – and all that on the basis of the highest quality. After all, quality creates trust – and trust creates orders. In short, we need to constantly become better and better at the high level we are already operating at.”

“We intend to focus all our attentions in the coming years on three core growth forces. These are:

1.    The massive expansion of our considerable software expertise. After all, in our eyes, software is the “new wheel” of mankind and our industry. Processes with regard to mobility are becoming increasingly complex and more strongly interconnected. These processes need to be controlled and managed reliably, requiring ever greater amounts of software. In the future, practically nothing will move without software.

2.    In the fields of technology relevant for us, we want to be regarded as a pioneering and leading technology partner – especially by our customers.

3.    Finally, and above all, with our pioneering corporate culture we want to be the preferred employer for people who want to fully develop and expand their skills and abilities with us and make rapid progress.”

“Continental has had a good start into 2015, thus confirming our expectations for the entire year.”


© Continental
Wolfgang Schäfer, CFO Continental:

“Compared to 2013, our net interest expense improved by more than half a billion euros to minus €265 million. This positive development is attributable in particular to the early redemption of four bonds issued in 2010 and their partial refinancing with considerably lower-interest bonds in 2013. In the current year, we are anticipating net interest expense of around €300 million due to the purchase price payment for Veyance Technologies. Furthermore, we are planning on achieving free cash flow of at least €1.5 billion before acquisitions.”

„We create value. It is the return that we have generated over and above our costs of capital in relation to capital employed. Over the past five years, this has added up cumulatively to €6.1 billion of created value.”

„The euro exchange rate has weakened considerably in comparison to previous years, and this is particularly true in relation to the dollar. At present, the tailwind from exchange rate effects is expected to have a positive impact of around €1 billion on sales. So this could indeed be a considerable factor for sales.”

„As always, our company will also be naturally hedged in 2015 as well. This means that exchange rate effects impact sales and costs to the same degree and, as such, our margin will not change significantly as a result of expected exchange rate effects.“

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Vincent Charles

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