Annual Report 2008

The national and international market for baking technology

Our baking technology is now seen as far more than just ovens, proofing and refrigeration systems as well as baking equipment of all kinds for the production process itself.

Anyone who bakes consumes energy, and the price development, or rather price explosion of electricity, gas, heating oil and fuel is resulting in an above-average increase of production costs in the baking industry in particular.

Where possible, the only solution is to pass on the purchasing costs which increase as a result to consumers.

Cost pressure, together with a high level of environmental awareness, is motivating 2/3 of all producing companies to energy optimise their company buildings and plants.

The specialist magazine 'Back Journal' found this in a survey for Germany, and our subsidiaries and MIWE factory agents worldwide report similar demand.

Support is available in the form of subsidies and low-interest loans, even though in particular medium-sized companies/interest groups in Germany call for improved funding for energy saving measures.

MIWE identified this demand at an early stage; customer-specific energy concepts are a key part of the range and growing in importance.

With the new eco:nova system, MIWE offers a leading technology for energy recovery in bakehouses.

A universal system that is tailored to fit the needs of the bakeries to a tee, it recovers significant percentages of the energy used, and can be adapted to different business sizes.

Heat and energy recovery with a double environmentally-friendly effect, as in addition to the energy saving itself, virtually sulphur-free air is dissipated to the atmosphere via the heat exchanger.

The payback time for an investment in energy recovery is primarily based on the consumers, i.e. how the recovered energy is used.

In bakeries, classic/typical consumers of hot water include heating systems, dishwashers and the hot water supply overall.

Energy recovery/energy concepts are areas with rapidly rising demand on the national and international baking technology markets and a promising business model for MIWE in the future!


Business development overall

MIWE breaks its operating activities down into three divisions, with each division responsible for its own results. The net income from service is also determined separately, and was positive for all three business units in 2008. Business developed extremely disparately in the various divisions.

Overall, the Store and Professional Oven division's (called the Standard division internally at MIWE) performance was fully in line with the forecast, with 100% forecast compliance for incoming orders. It did so at a stable high level with an export rate of approx. 45%. Accordingly, the production and sales of store and professional ovens made a positive contribution to the overall results of MIWE Michael Wenz GmbH in the 2008 financial year.

The MIWE Baking Refrigeration division was similarly close to the forecast result. The export rate of approx. 47% was a particularly plus.

The Plant Engineering division did not quite live up to expectations and importance for MIWE. The main reasons for this were delays in investment/purchase decisions. The plant engineering export rate was approximately 55% in the 2008 financial year. MIWE is certain that the Plant Engineering division will return to profitability at least in the medium term.

This optimistic appraisal is based on the market-driven product range with which MIWE can meet the rising demand for flexible oven systems for medium-sized and large companies. The 24 loading and unloading system MIWE athlet units delivered in 2008 alone, serving a total useful baking space of 1,500 m², are sufficient proof of this. Two major orders for production lines from Saudi Arabia and Norway, comprising thermal-oil fired continuous ovens, fully-automatic proofing units and conveying and refrigeration technology, are a further positive.

Organisational measures were also taken, with the Plant Engineering and Baking Refrigeration divisions being managed by dedicated Division Directors since January 2009 at MIWE. A new team took over the Plant Engineering sales management and a new Plant Engineering product management team was created.

The MIWE subsidiaries in the USA, Austria, Switzerland and the Russian Federation all report positive operating results to Arnstein.

The financial and economic crisis also reached MIWE, as well as several subsidiaries, which meant that major write-downs had to be made at the year end, with a negative result on the financial result.

In addition to this, the net income from ordinary business operations is adversely affected by sharing the loss from the annual net income of MIWE Meiningen.


Sales and internationalisation

In spite of the looming economic crisis, domestic business was positive and slightly above the forecast. Accordingly, the domestic business helped support the overall sales.

The business development in the second half of 2008 was negative, particularly in the USA, Russia and the Ukraine due to the crisis. Only 50% of the sales targets were reached there.

Internationalisation was advanced further by expanding and founding MIWE subsidiaries.

In France, MIWE France, domiciled near Strasbourg, was founded on 01/08/2008 and a Managing Director/Sales Director from the industry was appointed to head it up.  The simultaneous expansion of the French dealer network represented a logical continuation of the increased market presence roadmap.

Among other things, the successful trade fair attendance at Europain in March 2008 contributed to the decision to found a dedicated subsidiary in France.

In the Middle East and Turkey, local representatives now boost the previous export-only activities.

In mid-December, MIWE Canada was established, and headed up by a Managing Director from Arnstein as of the 2008/2009 New Year. With this step, MIWE is enhancing its penetration into the North American market.



Investment activities and process improvements

In 2008, investments were made at an average level for MIWE. The exclusively self-financed investments totalled k€ 2,053 overall. Besides the investments to replace the fleet, totalling k€ 526, new equipment was purchased for the data centres to a total of k€ 258 in particular and k€ 93 was invested to purchase 3D CAD software. All existing administration buildings were fully air conditioned, with an investment volume of k€ 278 for the air conditioning system.

We took another step in our investment in MIWE human resources. Introducing lean management in the production departments resulted in significant process improvements. That increased our flexibility to react to ever greater fluctuations in demand considerably. 2009 will be characterised by the continuation of this lean concept in the production department.

In addition to this, the processes in administrative areas will also be based on lean management principles. That will help us increase the efficiency in the entire company and improve processes that are not sufficiently defined so that we can react flexibly and efficiently to fluctuations and wishes of our customers in future, even in the administrative departments.


Personnel development

Even in, and in particular, due to the economic crisis, MIWE continues to believe in training young people, who will continue to drive MIWE with existing and future careers.


The future – Research and development

In MIWE's Arnstein laboratory, research work in 2008 focused on showing bakers ways to further improve the quality of their products. It did so taking energy cost savings and simplification of processes in handling and logistics into consideration.

In 2008, one focus was on the development of the new, thermal oil-fired wagon oven MIWE thermo-static. A first MIWE thermo-static unit with a capacity for 3 (!) baking trolleys was installed in September 2008 for a field test. At the Südback trade fair in October 2008 in Stuttgart, the new 3 series MIWE thermo-static (Model 9.0819) was officially presented for the first time.

With the exception of the capacity expansion to 3 baking trolleys, the following innovations were implemented in the new series of thermal oil-heated MIWE wagon ovens. New steam generator with greatly improved steam performance with a shorter recovery time, German patent issued on 06/11/2008. This steam generator is integrated in the baking chamber and is therefore also heated by the uppermost heating plate, saving energy. The patent for this was registered in March 2008. There is also the slide system, an aid for feeding and removing the baking trolleys, registered for a patent in August 2008.

A patent was registered for the thermal oil-fired deck oven MIWE thermo-express with a redesigned heating plate, which remains particularly dimensionally stable, even over large spans.

The control unit MIWE Touch Control (TC), which has proven itself time and again in practice due to the user benefit on the rack oven MIWE roll-in and convection oven MIWE aero, was also approved as standard for the deck oven MIWE ideal in 2008.

The MIWE rack oven product range was supplemented with the MIWE lift-in, model 1.0608. This is a rack oven system with a suspended rack trolley (suspended system with a lifting mechanism registered for a patent for the freely rotating rack trolley), capacity: two baking trolleys with baking tray size 60x80 cm (DIN 58x78 cm). Depending on the concept of the bakehouse, this version can be considered as an alternative to the classic MIWE roll-in.

The product range of electrically heated store/deck ovens MIWE condo was supplemented with a variant with a useful backing area of 800 mm in width x 600 mm in depth. This general purpose oven MIWE condo requires less overall depth (an important product feature, as it is generally installed in stores); some customers prefer this option with a useful width of 800 mm to lengthwise insertion (800 mm depth). Since 2008, all models of the MIWE condo have been available in a black look (front and, on request, side panelling).

The MIWE FreshFoodSystem was supplemented with a third module, the MIWE cube:fire. The MIWE cube:fire was also exhibited for the first time in October 2008 at Südback in Stuttgart. This third baking component of the MIWE FreshFoodSystem is an electrically heated high-temperature deck oven which can be used to bake off all baked goods which require particularly high temperatures up to 350°C, such as pizzas, snacks, tartes flambées and pretzels, on a stone plate.

Initial field tests of the energy recovery system MIWE eco:nova were completed successfully in 2007. It was approved for sale in 06/2008. This new system, tailored for the situation in the bakehouse, can recover approximately one quarter of the total energy used for baking in form of hot water. Besides climate-independent baking results thanks to dynamic draught adaptation, other advantages include above all a further optimisation of the baking process through the individual regulation of the draught for each oven.


Outlook

Due to the high equity ratio, MIWE considers itself well equipped to survive the economic crisis largely unharmed.