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Wincor Nixdorf posts Q1 results

24 January 2006  |  3437 views  |  0 Source: Wincor Nixdorf

In the first quarter of its new fiscal year, Wincor Nixdorf AG has kept the momentum going from its good performance last year, with Group net sales up 7% to €488 million (previous year: €455 million).

After adjusting for exchange rate fluctuations between the euro and the US dollar, revenue growth was 5%. Operating profit before amortization (EBITA) was 11% ahead at €39 million (previous year: €35 million). The rise in revenue was down to good overall performance within the business and also favorable end-of-year trading in 2005. The rise in profit was aided by tight management of costs which succeeded in over-compensating to a slight fall in gross margin. Net profit for the period before carve-out expenses rose to €22 million, 22% ahead of the equivalent figure last time (€18 million).

Looking at the good revenue and profit figures in the first three months as well as the overall environment which are still seen as favorable, President and CEO Karl-Heinz Stiller was up-beat at the start of Wincor World, the banking and retail trade fair, in Paderborn, "This first-quarter performance confirms our growth forecasts for the full fiscal year. We're expecting to see growth of 8% in revenue and 10% in EBITA."

According to Stiller, this will be driven by ongoing international growth – in particular in other European countries – and by the improved German business which is seeing increasing investment activity in banking and growing sales of reverse vending systems in retail.

In expanding its employee base by 346 to 7,283 (as of December 31, 2005), the Company is also extending its worldwide services business and continuing to drive expansion into growth markets.

Net sales in growth regions ahead of the markets

Growth in Europe (excluding Germany) was 2% higher than the excellent comparative quarter which had, itself, been helped by exceptional items. Revenue in this region came to € 265 million (€260 million), continuing to represent with 55% (57%) the largest share of Group net sales.

In Germany, business was positive, as expected, with Q1 revenues climbing 8% higher to €124 million after a decline in the same quarter last year. As a result, the German business is contributing 25% (25%) of total Group revenues.

In Asia and the Americas, business levels were ahead of market growth, with net sales up 18% in US dollars and up 30% to €39 million (€30 million) after conversion to euros. This means the Americas account for 8% (7%) of total net sales.

In Asia-Pacific & Africa – also US dollar territories – dollar revenues were 8% ahead of the same period last year. After conversion to euros, revenue in the region moved ahead 20% to €60 million (€50 million), making up 12 % (11 %) of total net sales.

Growth in both business segments

In the banking segment, Q1 net sales were up 12% to €290 million (€259 million) with key contributions coming from higher levels of business in Germany, good performance in the Americas and what was, overall, solid growth in the product business.

The retail segment reported revenues up 1% to €198 million (€196 million). Excellent business during the period leading up to the 2005 calendar year-end meant the superb result in the same period last year – itself aided by favorable exceptional items in the UK market – was able to be beaten.

Viewed by business stream, the Q1 product business improved 9% to €297 million (€273 million). Solutions and services revenue was 5% ahead at €191 million (€182 million), making up 39% (40%) of total business whilst product revenues contributed the remaining 61% (60%) of overall net sales.

At the start of the new fiscal year the Company launched several large outsourcing projects in the branch banking businesses of several banks. It is via projects of this kind, which are the expression of changing perceptions of the business within banks, that the Company is tapping into additional business potential.

Separately, Wincor Nixdorf and SOLQUEST Consulting, a leading software manufacturer and integrator of mobile solutions and store peripherals, are moving toward a close cooperation. The goal of the partnership is to drive forward the integration of the two companies’ retail store solutions. The close network of the software products of both companies benefits retail enterprises by reducing the complexity of their IT landscapes long-term and simplifying the centralized control of business.

In addition to a comprehensive portfolio of hardware, Wincor Nixdorf offers its retail customers Store Vision Application Suite – software with which retail enterprises can control all the terminal devices in a store, from POS systems to reverse vending machines. In addition, as one of the leading consultants in the German-speaking countries, Wincor Nixdorf also focuses on the implementation of SAP functionalities at retail companies. Store integration presents a significant challenge for ERP systems. With mRetail and iPOS, SOLQUEST offers solutions for the IT integration of retail stores in both SAP systems and other ERP systems used at headquarters. The software mRetail supports modern machine data entry (MDE) platforms and has a certified standard connector to both SAP Retail and SAP Forecast & Replenishment. iPOS enables the integration of other store IT systems – such as POS, scales, and reverse vending – on the basis of the same integration platform as mRetail.

From the point of view of retail enterprises, stores increasingly require the support of merchandise management functions such as goods receipt, inventory and ordering through the use of mobile devices (MDE). SAP AG has developed a solution approach for these requirements and, in the process, has taken SOLQUEST's mRetail solution into account.

According to Achim Sieren, Managing Director of Wincor Nixdorf Retail Consulting, "The solutions from SAP, SOLQUEST and Wincor Nixdorf enhance each other optimally to form an integrated approach for retail stores. In Netweaver, SAP AG offers an integrations platform, SOLQUEST has mServer as a management platform for store IT, and Wincor Nixdorf offers process and SAP know-how as well as a comprehensive hardware and software portfolio." As a result of this partnership, customers benefit from a closely interwoven product portfolio.

Dr Joachim Weinbrecht, Managing Director at SOLQUEST, explains: "Our partnership with Wincor Nixdorf opens up new markets for our products. Especially for the SAP market, internationally Wincor Nixdorf is surely one of the most important integrators in the retail sector, from the store all the way to headquarters."

Modular portfolio for all variants of the self-service checkout

In developing its extended self-checkout product family, Wincor Nixdorf is complying with international retail companies' demands for more efficiency and security at the checkout. The systems in the Beetle/iScan product family and the TPiScan software support the various process variants used at self-services checkouts. Whether the customer scans, packs and pays for his or her own purchases at a self-checkout terminal, or whether scanning and payment are performed at two separate systems – Wincor Nixdorf has cooperated closely with retail companies to develop solutions that meet retail's varying requirements.

In addition to the familiar Beetle/iScan, at which the customer scans his or her own purchases, pays for them, and either bags them directly (Scan&Bag) or places them on a conveyor belt (Scan&Pass), Wincor Nixdorf now offers the POS Tower 100 as a compact Scan&Bag or Scan&Pass solution with a much smaller footprint.

Systems separate scanning and payment processes

On the basis of modular POS tower hardware, it is possible to separate the processes of scanning and payment so that they can operate in parallel. A Scan Tower 100 is a stationary scan workstation – equipped either with bag holders or a transport belt – at which the customer scans the contents of the shopping cart or basket. When everything has been scanned, the customer receives a sales slip, and takes this to a separate station, the Pay Tower. Here the customer calls up the stored transaction using the barcode on the sales slip and pays for the purchases with cash or card as desired.

As a flexible and compact payment station, the Pay Tower 100 is suitable for use in a variety of market sectors. Combined with mobile scanning (such as the "Personal Shopping Assistant"), attended scanning stations or self-scanning terminals, the Pay Tower helps increase throughput and avoid lines in store checkout zones.

For operating all the systems in the Beetle iScan family, Wincor Nixdorf has developed the TPiScan software, which supports all these checkout variants. The intuitive graphical interface guides the user safely through all the transactions at the self-checkout system. TPiScan controls all the components and also manages weight information for the merchandise. A standard interface ensures that the system can be seamlessly integrated into the existing POS solution. TpiScan runs under the operating systems Windows XP (Professional and Embedded), Linux (RedHat, Fedora) and Windows Embedded for POS.

ProView monitors security components on self-service systems

Wincor Nixdorf has increased even further the security in and around ATMs with its software solution ProView for the remote monitoring of self-service banking systems: monitoring of anti-skimming modules has now been integrated into the solution. Anti-skimming modules are equipped with special sensors that check the area around the card insertion point for illicitly installed attachments. If such a module detects anything suspicious, it sends an "event" to ProView, which immediately initiates a variety of protective measures: for instance, it can activate a camera, photograph the perpetrator, take the ATM offline and generate a report to the service provider. If the camera monitoring an ATM fails, ProView can also take the machine offline. These measures offer comprehensive customer protection, ensure that ATMs can rapidly be restored to operation, and maintain a high level of system availability. Wincor Nixdorf thus offers its customers effective protection against the increasing incidence of criminal tampering with self-service banking equipment.

In ProView, Wincor Nixdorf has developed a PC-based monitoring and administration software program that is tailored to the specific interests of all types of self-service systems and to maintaining their high availability: from cash dispensers and statement printers to transaction and information terminals and even kiosk systems. Other manufacturers' equipment can also be integrated. ProView can be used not only decentrally at branch or bank level but also centrally in data centers or in an external systems management center. Its range of tasks covers not only remote diagnostics and status reporting, using intuitive traffic-light displays, it can also schedule technician assignments and analyze the root causes of malfunctions.

Wincor Nixdorf presents the Cash Recycling System ProCash 4000 – now with coin handling

For its compact Cash Recycling System ProCash 4000, Wincor Nixdorf now offers a coin processing module (sidecar) that provides comprehensive, rapid and customer-friendly handling of bulk cash transactions. This sidecar can dispense up to eight different coin denominations and up to 2000 coins can be deposited in a single transaction. The system's total capacity is 15,000 coins.

The ProCash 4000 is equipped with five cassettes, of which up to four may be used for cash recycling. Altogether the system can accommodate up to 12,500 banknotes, a capacity that makes it eminently suitable even for large-volume deposits. The combined deposit and withdrawal tray of the ProCash 4000 can hold up to 200 banknotes.

The cassette technology used in the ProCash 4000 greatly simplifies both operation and the task of emptying and replenishing the self-service system. Its slender design makes this unit highly suitable for installation in small spaces. In developing the ProCash 4000, Wincor Nixdorf gave particular attention to ergonomics and to end-users' ease of operation. The system fulfils all international ergonomic guidelines.

The innovative technology used in the ProCash 4000 enables it to set new standards in system availability, processing speed and product quality of self-service recycling equipment.

New security software for self-service system platforms

At Wincor World, Wincor Nixdorf will debut the first version of a new security software package for self-service system platforms. Platform Security Agent provides standards-compliant security from IT attacks and thus protects financial institutions from the increasing number of unforeseeable attacks on their IT systems.

Platform Security Agent was developed by Wincor Nixdorf on the basis of Cisco Security Agent technology and the ProTect/Enterprise Security Suite. This makes it possible to combine the high performance and advantages of both solutions.

Today's bank IT networks are being attacked with increasing frequency. Virus scanners and firewalls can offer protection only against known network attacks and are therefore not the answer here. Wincor Nixdorf's new solution now makes it possible to intercept attacks before they can even begin.

Self-service islands for better customer contact: The Kompetenzteam [new bank] presents new solutions and concepts for branches

At Wincor World, the Kompetenzteam [new bank], incorporating the combined expertise of ten companies from a variety of sectors, is introducing new concepts and solutions for the bank branch of tomorrow. In addition to innovative, sales-oriented design concepts, this team offers intelligent multifunctional solutions for targeting customers and visionary layouts for future branches.

More and more banks are placing greater value on stationary sales. For sustained success in the branch banking sector it will be necessary to implement new concepts for customer loyalty and customer address. This is exactly where the Kompetenzteam [new bank] comes in. It provides an interdisciplinary analysis of banks' core topics and questions, and supplies innovative and progressive branch concepts for savings banks and other financial institutions. The team's top priority is the holistic planning and implementation of sales-oriented branch solutions that incorporate considerations of staff, space and technology.

One innovative solution aimed at creating the necessary technical and spatial flexibility in the branch is the free-standing compact self-service island, which is being introduced at Wincor World and has already been implemented in practice. Depending on the size of the branch and the type of self-service technology required, this circular, oval or rectangular island can accommodate between two and eight self-service devices. Options include either a stationary self-service island solution or a mobile island that uses air cushion technology.

Integrating a self-service island into the banking hall itself offers the branch numerous advantages. Customers are no longer sent to "stand in the corner," they are free to choose their own positions at the island and to keep the front office area in view while using the equipment. This encourages visual rapport between the self-service and assisted service areas and gives the staff closer contact with their customers. And in such an environment, the customer is more likely to take note of the bank’s current campaigns and offers.

Wincor Nixdorf will be marketing the self-service island concept together with partners from the competence team and the Thies company, specialists in interior finishing work.

1.000.000 POS systems from Wincor Nixdorf with Intel Technology

Wincor Nixdorf and Intel can look back on a successful relationship. Precisely one million Intel processors to date have been built into the POS hardware supplied by Wincor Nixdorf, the European market's leading producer of programmable electronic POS systems. That's reason enough for Intel to mark this milestone with the presentation of a golden Wincor Nixdorf "Beetle" POS system.

The roots of this successful relationship go deep: back to 1973. What was then Nixdorf Computer AG equipped its first computerized cash register system, the 705/710, with an 8-megahertz CPU from Intel. That the processors that power today's Beetles are more than 300 times faster is proof of enormous progress in this arena. And in the process, these two companies have often worked together to produce innovations. Looking back, the development of the so-called "bubble memory" – a storage system without moving parts that closed the gap between magnetic storage media and semi-conductor storage (RAM) – was especially noteworthy. These storage units, which had a capacity of 128 to 512 kb, were implemented in POS systems to enable the fast look-up of prices.

Since the introduction of the Beetle POS system family at the beginning of the 1990s, Wincor Nixdorf worked together with the Intel local CSO Team. Advantages from this working relationship include the long-term availability of components and superb technical support. Gerhard Schiller, who directs development for the Retail Division at Wincor Nixdorf, notes: "The close cooperation and teamwork with the local Intel CSO Team enables us to react to the market's demands very quickly. Our customers' requirements flow directly into the development process."

Eberhard Wüst, Key Account Manager at Intel, explains: "Working with market and innovation leaders such as Wincor Nixdorf is critically important to us. We gain direct feedback on new developments above and beyond the market for PCs."

CSO Communication Sales Organization: owns an Embedded Roadmap with longterm availability. The further development of CPUs is currently focusing on enabling the construction of processors with a lower power consumption, making improved processors available for mobile devices, and even greater ease of connection via remote services.

New version of ProCash/FOnet with support for the automated teller safe

At Wincor World, Wincor Nixdorf is presenting a new expanded version of its successful software solution ProCash/FOnet for attended self-service. For the first time, FOnet will now also operate ATS systems (automated teller safes) alongside conventional self-service systems, thus enabling financial institutions to operate their branches with one single standard application. Tellers can address either the ATM or ATS system for each transaction, so that during periods of heavy use of the bank's ATMs, the staff can redirect customers to the attended area and dispense cash from the ATS systems. Because operation of both the ATS and ATM systems uses the same software, has the same look and feel, and has comparable procedures, this process simplifies work for the staff. Each workstation can be configured with a preferred mode – ATM or ATS. The product is scheduled for general release in March of this year.

In the operation of attended self-service, ProCash/FOnet completely integrates the self-service systems into the staff’s handling of cash transactions. Under ProCash/FOnet, those cash transactions that are not directly handled via self-service, such as large withdrawals, are still handled by bank staff, but the corresponding cash amounts are paid out or in at a self-service system. In attended self-service, any number of front-office workstations and any number of self-service systems can be integrated into the front-office network.

The new version of ProCash/FOnet that controls both ATM and ATS systems can be integrated into the Wincor Nixdorf platform ProClassic/Enterprise. This solution is based on J2EE application servers; it possesses multiclient capability and is therefore suitable for operation within large networks. FOnet is oriented to network-centered infrastructures and is platform-independent. Its straightforward, individual customizing facilities make the solution even more flexible.

CITTI provides branches with innovative checkout technology from Wincor Nixdorf

The trading company CITTI plans to install new checkout technology in all its CITTI Park grocery stores. From May 2006, the company will use Beetle/iScan self-checkout systems and mobile scanning solutions alongside conventional Beetle POS systems. CITTI, an enterprise in the SME segment in food retailing, aims to makes its processes more efficient and increase the satisfaction of its wholesale and retail customers – and this is the reason for its choice of TP.net as its POS platform.

“We were looking for software that could be used to implement the various checkout concepts – from traditional POS systems, through self-checkout systems, right down to mobile shopping assistants – and be integrated seamlessly into our company’s IT landscape”, says Dr. Matthias Ernst, IT Manager at CITTI, “and we are confident that TP.net will fulfill all these requirements.”

“Innovative solutions are extremely significant when it comes to implementing our new shopping concept. At the same time, however, as the IT department of a mid-sized company we need to use the available financial resources in the most efficient way. It was therefore important when choosing a new solution to minimize the cost of integration and adaptation. And, if possible, we wanted to obtain all the necessary systems for our concept from a single supplier,” explains Dr. Ernst. In addition to the shopping center in Kiel, the CITTI Parks in Lübeck, Flensburg, Stralsund and Rostock will also be equipped with POS information technology from Wincor Nixdorf.

TP.net currently used by 15 retail enterprises in six countries

A total of fifteen retail companies have opted for TP.net software in the space of under two years. The reasons for this exemplary success are obvious: the flexible, open architecture is constructed strictly in compliance with modularity and standardization guidelines and fulfills all conceivable international requirements.

As a universal, process-oriented store IT platform, TP.net can be used in all types of chain stores from any segment of retail: grocery stores, supermarkets, department stores or specialized retail businesses.

TP.net is a "finished" sales system that can be used just like any other standard software. In this capacity, it records and processes all the sales-related transaction data. It also offers mature reporting functions and ensures the rapid and reliable transfer of data into and out of the POS systems.

Plug-ins for extended functions

The platform features that record each and every sales process within the branch are particularly advantageous. This is made possible by new mechanisms such as remote access to local TP.net functions or the web service-based distribution of functions over the branch network. Together with a number of IT integration mechanisms, these make it easy to use the software to operate terminals of any kind, such as self-checkout systems, reverse vending machines, electronic shelf labels, mobile data capture devices and visual merchandising systems. In addition, there are internationally available add-ons (plug-ins) for all retail applications; these broaden the utilization options of TP.net to the precise extent required and are simply installed over the basic version. These plug-ins may provide commercial extensions for particular market sectors (e.g. for DIY stores or supermarkets) or specific national features (e.g. fiscal and tax requirements).

One such plug-in is the TP Promotion Engine. This is a program that can be used to configure and operate individual customer loyalty and marketing campaigns. Other plug-ins include modules such as TPAdmin, which is a tool for administering and configuring the systems and processes controlled by TP.net in the branches, and TPNetwork for setting up stable communications and transferring data between TP.net and all the retail organization’s other solutions.

The software development process is just as modular as TP.net itself. The specialists at Wincor Nixdorf headquarters work on the TP.net "base product", which is the core of the system. Sector-specific features are created at the relevant competence centers, and the plug-ins for individual countries are developed by experts in the relevant localities (and may include Wincor Nixdorf's partner companies), so that each task is undertaken wherever the maximum expertise for it can be found. Altogether there are 120 software specialists from 19 countries currently working on TP.net.

This demand- and task-oriented distribution of the development and production processes guarantees a high level of reusability for the individual modules, because the system grows organically. Application-related customizing can be carried out easily and quickly, and is particularly cost-effective.

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