Last year Ascom implemented the investment program announced in January 2015 to a large extent. Thanks to a solid result in the Wireless Solutions Division, Ascom expects a slight increase in revenues at constant currencies at Group level in 2015 and an EBITDA margin of around 11.5% (excluding restructuring costs of the Network Testing Division). The Board of Directors will propose an unchanged dividend of CHF 0.45 per share to the Annual General Meeting.
Full details of Ascom's financial statements and the Annual Report 2015 will be published on 9 March 2016.
Slight revenue growth overall at Group level
Based on preliminary unaudited results and according to Swiss GAAP FER Reporting Standards, Ascom generated revenues of around CHF 411 million in fiscal year 2015 (2014: CHF 437.7 million), thus achieving growth at Group level of around 1.5% at constant currencies. Costs for the restructuring of the Network Testing Division announced in December 2015 were around CHF 4 million. Excluding these restructuring costs and taking into account the implementation of the announced investment program, Ascom posted an EBITDA margin of around 11.5% for the fiscal year 2015 (2014: 14.8%). Ascom showed a net cash position of CHF 37.3 million as of 31 December 2015 (2014: CHF 27.1 million).
Solid result for Wireless Solutions
The Wireless Solutions Division once again proved to be a stable business with good profitability. The division recorded revenue growth of 3.8% year-on-year at constant currencies, posting revenues of around CHF 304 million (2014: CHF 318.8 million). Despite additional expenditure of around CHF 6 million as part of the investment program announced in January 2015, the division achieved an EBITDA margin of around 15%.
Difficult market environment for Network Testing
The Network Testing Division suffered from difficult market conditions, recording a revenue decline of 4.5% at constant exchange rates with revenues coming in at around CHF 107 million (2014: CHF 119.0 million). Excluding restructuring costs of around CHF 4 million, the EBITDA margin was around 3%. The decrease in the division's revenues compared with the previous year was attributable to two factors. The first, as announced in December 2015, was the loss of USD 8 million in revenues due to the postponement of an investment by a major mobile network operator in the US. The second factor was the CHF 4 million decline in revenues at the Systems & Solutions product unit, which was sold in December 2015.
The division's testing business (excluding the Systems & Solutions product unit sold at the end of the year) posted an EBITDA margin of around 6% excluding restructuring costs on revenues of around CHF 94 million.
Unchanged dividend of CHF 0.45 per share
Ascom currently expects net profit in the region of CHF 24 million for 2015. The Board of Directors will propose an unchanged dividend of CHF 0.45 per share to the Annual General Meeting in acknowledgement of the continued solid business performance of the Wireless Solutions Division.
Outlook for 2016
The Wireless Solutions Division, which contributes a share of around 75% to the Group's business, made further progress in 2015 with its transformation into a leading provider of healthcare ICT solutions. Ascom confirms its guidance for the Wireless Solution Division in 2016 and 2017, targeting revenue growth of 5 - 10% at constant exchange rates with an EBITDA margin of 14 - 18%.
The Network Testing Division implemented already in January 2016 to a large extent the restructuring program announced in December 2015. In addition, various growth initiatives have been launched, including a partnering with Ranplan. Discussions with interested parties to evaluate strategic options for the Network Testing Division are proceeding.
Ascom will publish further information and the full details of its financial statements and the 2015 Annual Report at the Annual Results Conference to take place on 9 March 2016.