Issue: Apr 2012


RÜCKER AG has once again greatly improved its profits



Increased demand for engineering services - Automotive, aviation and plant engineering and construction all improving

by Jon Knox

The listed and globally active engineering contractor Rücker AG of Wiesbaden, Germany, profited from the worldwide upswing on the automotive, aircraft and plant engineering and construction markets in the 2011 financial year. The group achieved double-digit growth in all the important goal criteria.

The group, which has 7 German and 21 foreign subsidiaries at 39 locations in 18 countries, is mainly concerned with providing consulting, planning, design and development services in the automotive, aircraft manufacture, plant engineering and construction, railway locomotive production and shipbuilding industries as well as the associated technical documentation.

15.8% turnover increase:
The 2011 financial year was characterised for Rücker by a very positive order situation. Year-on-year volume increased greatly.
Turnover increased 15.8 percent to 175.9 million Euros (2010: 151.9 million Euros) and was nearly as high as the record year 2008 (176.3 million Euros). Domestic turnover increase was 22.2 percent but a mere 5.6% in the rest of the world.

Wolfgang Rücker, chairman of Rücker AG, commented that, "Our commercial success was due to the increase in demand for motor cars, lorries, aircraft, industrial plant and other economic goods thanks to economic recovery. This led to sustained demand on the part of our clients for our digital development services. Many of our international clients have used our services for many years now. This demonstrates the very high level of acceptance of our services and of our expertise".
New models, Rücker pointed out in his remarks on the factors leading to success in the past financial year, are needed by automotive manufacturers to safeguard their market shares and penetrate new markets. Abbreviated development cycles and the resultant shortening of the intervals between the introduction of a model and its replacement with a new one are further contributory factors.
Aircraft, machinery and plant manufacturers also favour economy, environment friendliness and low noise levels in their products and have commissioned the appropriate design services of our group companies.

EBIT improves disproportionately:
The Rücker group's EBIT 2011 increased thanks to a higher volume of business from 8.1 million Euros in 2010 to 10.0 million Euros in 2011. The disproportionate EBIT increase of 22.8% was above all due to developments in sales and administrative costs, which increased 11% and hence by much less than turnover. 2011 group profits totalled
6.1 million Euros, 29% more than in 2010 (4.8 million Euros). The EBIT margin for the group as a whole was 5.7% (2010: 5.3 percent).
Net return climbed from 3.1 percent in 2010 to 3.5 percent in 2011.
Equity capital at 40.4 million Euros (2010: 38.2 million Euros) was the biggest liability item. The change was mainly due to increased revenue reserves and net profits for the 2011 financial year.
Rücker's financial director Juergen Vogt proposed a dividend during his presentation of the 2011 figures: "We want our shareholders to participate appropriately in the group's success in the last financial year. The board of management and the supervisory board will therefore propose to the shareholders' annual general meeting on
05 June 2012 that the dividend for 2011 be increased to 50 cents per share. It is once again free of tax". Last year the dividend was 45 cents.

Research and development are greatly favoured:
The development services market was characterised in 2011 by greatly increased order volume. The Rücker group profited from this along with others. Many automotive manufacturers, our most important clients, were able to increase their sales, primarily due to Chinese, Indian, Russian, Brazilian and US growth. This in turn led to increased development costs for manufacturers.
Research and development (R&D) play a major role in the industries in which the Rücker group is active. The R&D volume in the German automotive industry is estimated to have been 22 billion Euros in 2011. The year-on-year increase was hence 10%.

To ensure they are technically well prepared for future growth the Rücker group further expanded its IT infrastructure and test plant in the last financial year. Our financial director Juergen Vogt has this to say on the subject: "Increased business volume and positive prospects led us in 2011 to increase investment here by a good 70% from 3.1 to 5.5 million Euros. This is a much higher level of investment in this area than in 2010".

Growth in important industries:
The world's automotive industry taken as a whole sold 61.3 vehicles in 2011 compared to 58.8 million in 2010. The German industry profited from this global trend, not least because it is well positioned in the US, China and such emerging countries as Russia and Brazil.

International aviation expanded considerably until mid-2011, reflected in increased passenger and cargo figures. Rücker AG was able to greatly improve its position as an EADS supplier. Our subsidiary Rücker Aerospace GmbH and the Spanish engineering contractor CT Ingenieros of Madrid founded a joint venture. This new company, Rücker CT Engineering GmbH in Hamburg, qualified as a Top Twenty EADS and hence Airbus supplier. Rücker views the future on the aviation market positively on the basis of a number of long-term projects.
Plant engineering and construction contracted a great deal in 2009 but expanded again last year as the world economy recovered.
Manufacture of plant and machinery increased 14% in German in the year reported on. 2012 is expected to be a good year too. Rücker AG bought all extant shares in Hoevelmann GmbH of Aachen, Germany, in April 2011 to enable them to further establish themselves on the plant construction market and expand their position on that market.

Good business prospects:
In the medium term the group assumes, said Wolfgang Rücker, that their business model of the group's engineers rendering development services for new power systems, environment-friendly mobility adhering to newly developed safety rules and the increasing electronics content in cars, lorries, aircraft and plant will bring in increasing volumes of orders and hence lead to improved turnover.

In 2012 the same sales volume on the international automotive market is expected as in 2011 - namely around 61.2 million cars. For 2013 an increase to 63.6 million units is expected globally.
IATA is predicting an increase in air passengers globally of 6.1 percent in 2011 and 4 percent for 2012. Over the next twenty years the major plane manufacturers Airbus and Boeing expect significant growth and predict a demand for around 28,000 new passenger aircraft.
All in all the trend is to bigger and more fuel efficient aircraft.
Increased demand is expected of China and India in particular.

We currently need to recruit a further 400 engineers.
The group employed 2,399 engineers and designers as of the end of 2011. That's 197 more than the year before. We're hoping to recruit a further 400 engineers and designers in view of the gratifying order situation. The jobs await the new recruits. Increased recruiting measures have been initiated.

In brief Rücker AG - the publicly quoted engineering contractor.
Rücker AG of Wiesbaden, Germany, was founded in 1970 by its current chairman and majority shareholder Wolfgang Rücker. It has been publicly quoted since 2000 and is now a market leading engineering services contractor. Clients include international automotive, aviation, railway engineering, shipbuilding and environmental and mechanical engineering companies.

Our automotive division renders virtual development services to many major manufacturers in the bodywork, interior design and electrical system fields. The group's aviation division offers services ranging from styling aircraft interiors via designing and modelling models and prototypes to calculating and constructing wing and fuselage
structures.

The Rücker group includes Rücker AG and seven domestic plus 21 foreign subsidiaries. Rücker AG has 39 locations in 18 countries and currently employs about 2.500 people, nearly all engineers. We're hoping to recruit a further 400 engineers and designers in view of the gratifying order situation.

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