The EMS Group was able to slightly increase net sales in local currencies in the reporting year 2008. Net sales in Swiss francs declined compared to the previous year, reflecting weaker foreign currencies. EMS successfully realized its plans to achieve growth through new business in its core area of Performance Polymers. The slowing of the economy, which led to a literal economic slump in the fourth quarter of 2008, forced customers to extensive reductions in production quantities and inventory stocks, which also resulted in a strong reduction of sales volumes for EMS. At the start of the year, EMS predicted that economic conditions would deteriorate and reduced costs and investments at an early stage. A global recruitment freeze was implemented in April 2008. Production quantities and inventory stocks were reduced. Net operating income (EBIT) declined compared to the excellent result in the previous year.
Net sales in Swiss francs decreased by 3.1% to CHF 1'504 million (1'552) compared to the previous year but rose by 0.8% in local currencies. Net operating income (EBIT) was CHF 220 million (270) and EBITDA totalled CHF 278 million (324). The EBIT margin was 14.6% (17.4%). Net financial income for 2008 amounted to CHF 38 million (64). Net income after taxes was CHF 215 million (294).
EMS has an innovative, high-margin speciality business, high liquidity and a strong equity ratio and is therefore, solidly positioned. It is continuing to pursue and will even accelerate its successful strategy for the expansion of its speciality business in the main area of Performance Polymers.