Ceva targets costs and market share

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Ceva has set out plans to reduce costs by £141 million (150m euros) by the end of the year as well as increasing market share.

The company reported sales of £6bn (6.3bn euros) for 2008, its first full year as an integrated business, compared to £4.5bn (4.8bn euros) in 2007, while EBITDA rose 6.3 per cent to £301m (320m euros).

However, the figures only reflect EGL’s sales after it became part of the group in August 2007. Ceva has also provided figures which account for EGL’s full year figures in 2007 – these show sales growth of 0.5 per cent and EBITDA slipping back reflecting the tough trading conditions in 2008. In quarter four, EBITDA was down 42 per cent.

Chief executive John Pattullo said: “In our first full year as an integrated business, we have performed well in difficult trading times and believe we have the momentum and capability to drive the business forward. We intend to achieve this by focusing on three areas: gaining market share, focused cost containment and strengthening our core capabilities.”

The company reported a record level of business wins – £1.6bn (1.7bn euros), and it said the rate of converting pipeline opportunities to wins was also at an all time high.

The integration of the logistics and freight management businesses was completed which the company said had enabled it to increase the cross selling of services in 2008 increased to a new high of £216m (230m euros).

The pressure on sales and profits in quarter four was mainly the result of customer volumes reducing particularly in airfreight and the inbound automotive sector. “The group’s senior management are working hard to offset the ongoing impact of the world’s turbulent economy with a number of cost containment programs. In total, management believes that these savings programs should deliver in excess of 150 million euros reduced costs in 2009.”

It has also put in place a series of programmes aimed at delivering greater value for customers, in particular development of the operations excellence programme. This includes: applying bespoke LEAN methodologies to realise efficiency through waste reduction, zero defect start-ups, a rigorous project management methodology and smart solutions – products developed on the basis of experience gathered from around the world.

The company said the outlook for the first quarter of 2009 continues to follow the same trends as seen in Q4, 2008. “Over the first two months of 2009, Ceva has continued to see relatively weak overall transaction volumes and reduced freight flows, broadly consistent with the prior quarter (especially in automotive-related sectors), and we expect more of the same for the remainder of Q1.”

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