Basler cancels dividend after weak figures

Last Updated: 7. Mรคrz 2024By

At the beginning of the week, Basler AG, a leading provider of image processing components, presented preliminary figures for the 2023 financial year, which โ€“ as expected โ€“ were all disappointingly low.

Both the sales and earnings values achieved in 2023 were significantly below the previous year’s figures. The order intake has also collapsed. Before I explain the specific preliminary figures, I would like to briefly introduce you to the company based in Ahrensburg, Schleswig-Holstein (about 20 km northeast of Hamburg).

Basler AG in profile Founded in 1988, Basler AG is, according to its own information, an internationally leading and experienced expert in image processing components (English: computer vision). Specifically, Basler produces high-quality industrial cameras, lenses and lighting material, and is a developer and manufacturer of image processing hardware and software.

The systems developed by Basler are used, for example, in surface inspection in the production of plastic films, flat screens or wafers, in optical character recognition in mail sorting, in print image control in the packaging industry, or in residual material sorting.

But they are also used in logistics/warehousing, medicine and life science, and in traffic and transportation, where Basler’s image processing systems are used. Basler AG employs over 1,000 people at its headquarters in Ahrensburg, as well as at other sales and development locations in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Even 36 years after its founding, the medium-sized company is still mostly family-owned, as company founder Norbert Basler holds just under 53% of the shares.

Preliminary financial figures in detail After several years of consecutive growth, Basler AG’s business collapsed massively last year. This is shown by the now published preliminary financial figures, which are significantly below the previous year’s values.

In 2023, the company achieved a turnover of 203.1 million euros. This was 25% less than the previous year, when sales were 272.2 million euros. Earnings before interest, taxes, and depreciation (EBITDA) in 2023 were 1.7 million euros, 96% below the previous year’s value of 45.8 million euros. The bottom line is a loss.

In 2023, order intake was also significantly lower at 166.9 million euros compared to the previous year’s value of 248.4 million euros (-33%). The weak order intake level and the still high inventory levels at customers make the Basler management cautious about the current first quarter. The management therefore plans to continue its consistent cost management for the time being.

Dividend to be suspended Due to the high loss and the cost-intensive restructuring program, the Executive Board of Basler AG has decided to propose to the Annual General Meeting to suspend the dividend for the 2023 financial year. However, the company emphasizes that the fundamental dividend strategy of the company will remain unchanged.

The weak preliminary financial figures of Basler AG do not currently speak in favor of an investment in the Basler share. However, for risk-taking investors with a longer-term investment horizon, a turnaround speculation could be worthwhile, as I consider Basler AG’s business model to be fundamentally good.