Winterthur, Switzerland - Rieter, an automotive acoustics specialist, has been "severely affected" by the market slump in the textile machinery and automotive industries in the first half of 2009 (H1), reporting a 50 percent decline in sales in its half-year results.
Rieter's Automotive Systems division, which uses polyurethane foam in many parts for sound and vibration damping, has recorded a 43-percent drop in sales to CHF 650.3 million ($601.0 million) in 2009, compared to the same period last year, and 28-percent down on the second half of 2008, the company said. Compared to the first three months of 2009 (Q1) however, sales were up by 20 percent, Rieter added.
Operating result before interest in the automotive unit fell to -CHF 78.0 million from CHF 18.6 million in the same period last year, mainly due to the CHF 491.6 million slump in sales and unpredictable capacity utilisation levels at certain manufacturing sites, the statement said.
Overall, group orders declined by 46 percent to CHF 840.0 million in H1, with group sales falling 50 percent to CHF 899.8 million, compared to H1 2008.
As part of cost-cutting measures, the company has reduced the number of permanent employees by 18 percent, or 2700, in the first half of 2009 and put 3000 employees in Europe onto short-time working. The cost of the group-wide restructuring programme amounted to CHF 18.1 million, the company said.
Rieter does not expect market volumes to return rapidly to those reached in 2006-2008 and will continue structural adjustments. The company expects a further workforce reduction of 1500, or 12 percent, by the end of 2010. (RD)