Ravensburg – The Ravensburger Group grew once again in the past financial year. In largely stable markets sales increased by 8.7 % to 359 million euros. The Group achieved more than half of this growth through the holding in the US games start-up Wonder Forge Inc., Seattle, consolidated in the results for the first-time. Without this holding, Ravensburger displayed a clear growth of 3.9 %.
At 33.2 million euros the group’s net profits were at the same level as the year before. As a result of special non-recurring effects, the reported EBIT shrank by 1.9 million euros. However, the operative EBIT was 5.8 million euros higher than in the previous year. “In view of the good operative result we can be satisfied with the annual financial statements for 2013”, said Chief Financial Officer Jörg-Viggo Müller. At its balance sheet press conference in Stuttgart today, the company reported a 9.2 % return on sales after tax.
Ravensburger games – growth with new games figures
Ravensburger’s largest business division Games, Puzzles, Crafts, accounting for around 80 % of sales, boosted its turnover by 11.1 % last year to 286.4 million euros. Without the participation in the US games developer Wonder Forge, the division grew by 4.9 %, thus outstripping the market environment: The five leading West European games markets* in which the company sells more than 70 % of its games products were 0.2 % down and thus roughly at the same level as the preceding year.
Games, puzzles and craft products from Ravensburger grew by 4.4 % on the domestic market. In other countries – without the holding in Wonder Forge – they rose by 5.3 %. Sales were driven above all by the audiodigital learning system tiptoi®, craft products for girls and the 3D jigsaw puzzle “Empire State Building Night Edition” with a light at the top. A new product series launched in the German-speaking countries made a substantial contribution to growth – animal figures, which in combination with the electronic tiptoi® pen produce animal sounds, provide relevant information and make suggestions for games.
Ravensburger books – stable turnover development thanks to tiptoi®
In 2013 the German market for children’s and adolescents’ books remained roughly at the previous year’s level with a growth of 0.1 %. Turnover in the Ravensburger Books for Children and Adolescents division was more or less stable too, down by 0.4 % to 67.9 million euros. However, this did in fact reflect a positive development, as the division had given up its relatively large book series “Friendz” at the end of 2012. On a comparable basis, sales of Ravensburger books increased by 4.0 %. Major contributions were made by the audiodigital learning system tiptoi® and the expansion of the non-fiction series “Wieso? Weshalb? Warum?” to include the segment “Profiwissen” (“professional knowledge”) for older children.
Ravensburger Freizeit und Promotion (Leisure and Promotion): Kinderwelt boosts sales
By operating a new Kinderwelt for the first time last year, the business division Leisure and Promotion boosted its turnover by 30.7% to 12.8 million euros. Ravensburger Spieleland, which belongs to this division too, also developed well. Despite largely poor weather from Easter right through into the summer holidays, the leisure park recovered in the second half of the season with higher customer numbers and even outstripped the successful preceding season with 351,000 visitors.
Long-term activities pay off for Ravensburger
Management Board Chairman Karsten Schmidt stressed on presenting the business figures, “the good result is not just due to the activities in 2013, but is also the outcome of long-term work at Ravensburger”, explaining this with the help of four points:
- Acquisition: As part of its corporate strategy, at the end of 2012 Ravensburger purchased shares in the US games start-up Wonder Forge, a specialist in children’s games and licenses with popular TV and film characters. Ravensburger, already represented in the USA with its own subsidiary company, thus strengthened its involvement in the world’s largest games market. Wonder Forge was set up in 2007 and has a workforce of 15.
- Innovation: Ravensburger earns about a third of its turnover with new products. Since 2008 the group has been focusing more on developing innovations, linking the classic world of games with electronics, or establishing new product categories on the games market. For example the animal figures from the tiptoi® series made the biggest contribution to sales growth when they were launched on the market in 2013 – selling almost one million times in Germany alone. But Ravensburger does not only create innovations on the market side – it also refreshed its supply chain with a new manufacturing technology for 3D puzzles.
- Insourcing: Unlike most of the market, Ravensburger produces the majority of its products in its own plants in Europe to ensure product safety, high quality and fast service for the retail trade. In recent years the share of in-house production has been expanded consistently by introducing new technologies and accounted for approx. 90 % in 2013. For example, the company introduced injection moulding technology in 2006 to become independent of suppliers of plastic parts. Moreover since 2009 it has invested around 10 million euros in developing a digital printing method for plastic parts that has been patented. With these facilities Ravensburger now no longer produces its 3D plastic puzzles in the Far East, but instead in its own plant.
- Logistics: In 2005 the company launched a major project aiming to close down smaller distribution locations gradually up to the end of 2012 centralise its logistic activities. After substantial investments in restructuring measures abroad and in technology and engineering, IT systems and logistic processes at the Ravensburg site, the planned synergies were achieved in full for the first time in 2013.
* G5 countries: Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, source: NPD Group Pan