ZEISS: Significant Growth in Revenue and Earnings

Demand for digital solutions increases

12-May-2017 - Germany

The ZEISS Group had a very successful end to the first six months of fiscal year 2016/17 (ended 31 March) and saw its revenue rise by 10 percent to EUR 2.550 billion (1st half of 2015/16: EUR 2.322 billion). At EUR 384 million, the earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) were significantly higher than the previous year (EUR 280 million). The EBIT margin has increased to 15 percent. Incoming orders hit EUR 2.743 billion (1st half of 2015/16: EUR 2.448 billion).

“ZEISS is benefiting once again from its solid and future-oriented portfolio, and recorded growth across all segments over the same period of the prior year,” says Prof. Dr. Michael Kaschke, President and CEO of Carl Zeiss AG. “Our growth substantiates our aspiration to be a technological leader in optics and optoelectronics.”

The direct business segments have developed very positively on the whole. Particular drivers of growth in the Research & Quality Technology segment are the continually strong automotive industry and the demand for Smart Production solutions. The Medical Technology segment is experiencing growth in the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region in particular and can hold its own with product innovations and service offerings in the highly competitive healthcare market. In the Vision Care/Consumer Products segment, ZEISS branded lenses and well-positioned innovations in particular are contributing to growth.

Following several years of subdued growth, the Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology (SMT) segment has grown by almost 30 percent, primarily because of the high demand for Deep Ultra Violet (DUV) lithography systems; it has also seen increasingly positive momentum in the business with the future-oriented technology Extreme Ultra Violet (EUV) lithography.


ZEISS generates around 90 percent of its business outside Germany. The pace of growth differs by region. This positive business trend is borne in particular by the dynamically developing economies in the APAC region.

ZEISS increased its investments in research and development by around 20 percent: in the first half of fiscal year 2016/17, this amounted to EUR 247 million (1st half of 2015/16: EUR 207 million).

Investments in property, plant and equipment amounted to EUR 75 million in the reporting period (1st half of 2015/16: EUR 54 million). These compared to depreciations totaling EUR 76 million (1st half of 2015/16: EUR 76 million).

On 31 March 2017, net liquidity amounted to EUR 951 million, which was considerably above the figure posted at the end of fiscal year 2015/16 (30 Sept. 2016: EUR 568 million).

Free cash flow totaled EUR 264 million (1st half of 2015/16: EUR 355 million). With a figure totaling EUR 2,206 million, the company’s equity rose by 56 percent over the end-of-year figure for fiscal year 2015/16 (30 Sept. 2016: EUR 1,416 million).

On 31 March 2017 ZEISS had a global workforce of around 21,200 employees. This corresponds to an increase of 5 percent over the prior year (20,200). Moreover, Vision Global Operations – the global eyeglass production process, which is subject to major seasonal and regional fluctuations and is therefore listed separately – currently employs a further 5,000 people. The ZEISS Group therefore employed a total of almost 26,200 people on 31 March 2017.

Outlook: Continuation of growth trajectory

Global growth forecasts have improved slightly. The industrialized countries are also experiencing growth thanks to positive development in the USA, which is moderate overall. The emerging countries continue to drive the global economy despite a drop in momentum in some cases. “As things stand today, we will be able to forge ahead with our growth trajectory in the second half of the year,” predicts Kaschke.

Continued successful development is also linked to the consistent implementation of the corporate strategy, the ZEISS Agenda 2020: “All segments are aligning their business more closely with customer success. We are committed to meeting the ever-greater need for innovative, and increasingly digital solutions,” says Kaschke. Another key component of the ZEISS Agenda 2020 is the targeted expansion of the innovation excellence and the company’s competencies. By 2020, ZEISS is planning a quadruple-figure headcount increase and aims to offer interesting career and development opportunities to new employees with qualifications in software, design thinking, natural sciences and engineering.

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