Swiss injection press builder Netstal-Maschinen AG reported its sales and orders declined just over 5 percent in 2006, as standard presses and PET preform machines offset a sharp decline in the market for optical disc molding presses.
Customers will face higher prices for energy and resin, said Bernhard Merki, president and chief executive officer of the NÃ¤fels-based company. He called 2006 ``extremely demanding.'' The firm's fiscal year ended Sept. 30.
For fiscal 2006, Netstal reported group sales of 296.7 million Swiss francs ($235 million), down 5.7 percent from SFr324.8 million in 2005. Netstal's sale orders declined 5.5 percent, to SFr299.5 million ($236 million).
The company did not release profit figures.
Merki said the injection molding industry still has not been able to benefit from a healthy environment for the overall global economy.
Netstal has won new customers with its Elion all-electric press. The company also is receiving orders for large-cavity PET preform machines, Merki said.
But the drop in demand for presses to make CDs and DVDs, caused by overcapacity and a move to other storage media, has hit Netstal hard. Merki said global demand for optical discs plunged 50 percent in 2005, followed by a 40 percent drop in 2006. Deliveries of Netstal's e-Jet and Discjet presses fell 30 percent in 2006, which means the company managed to increase its share of that difficult market, he said.
This year is important for Netstal. The firm is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Also, the big K 2007 trade show approaches this fall in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Merki said Netstal remains ``cautiously optimistic'' about 2007. The company invested 6.4 million francs ($5 million) in buildings and production facilities. Netstal also invested more than 4 percent of sales in research and development.
Netstal's employment dropped slightly in 2006 to 801.