The reported net profit for 2007 was impacted by antitrust fines of CHF 293 million and totaled CHF 278 million. Excluding the extraordinary real estate gain of CHF 63 million recorded in 2006, consolidated operating profit (EBIT) improved by 25.2% to CHF 830 million.
Consolidated operating revenue increased by 24.6% to CHF 13,835 million in the reporting year. This result included a positive foreign exchange impact of 2.5% or CHF 280 million. The elevators and escalators business accounted for one third of this strong growth, while two-thirds of the increase were attributable to ALSO including GNT, which was consolidated for the full reporting period for the first time.
Excluding the extraordinary real estate gain of CHF 63 million recorded in 2006, consolidated operating profit (EBIT) improved by 25.2% to CHF 830 million. The net profit of CHF 571 million generated by Schindler was reduced to CHF 278 million as a result of the antitrust fines of CHF 293 million imposed during the reporting year.
Excluding the antitrust fines and the above-mentioned real estate gain, net profit increased by 21.5%. Free cash flow totaled CHF 591 million, representing a particularly pleasing development. Consolidated orders received rose by 20.4% to CHF 14,116 million. The consolidated order backlog was CHF 6,752 million, up 12.1% compared to the previous year. The Group's personnel increased by 3.5% to 45,208.
Following strong sales growth totaling 28.6% in its core business in 2005 and 2006, Schindler focused on qualitative growth in the reporting year and took measures in Europe to alleviate the supply bottlenecks that had arisen. Orders received grew by 7.2% to CHF 9,023 million, reflecting contributions from all market regions. Operating revenue increased by 11.8% to CHF 8,752 million. Operating profit (EBIT) rose by 11.9% to CHF 802 million. Excluding the extraordinary real estate gain recorded in 2006, operating profit (EBIT) increased by 22.6% and the operating margin improved from 8.4% to 9.2%.
ALSO -including the Finnish firm GNT Holding, which was consolidated for the full reporting period for the first time - ranked as the third largest ICE distributor in Europe. Consolidated net sales rose by 55.1% to CHF 5,083 million. Consolidated operating profit (EBIT) reached CHF 54 million (previous year: CHF 29 million) and net profit was CHF 15 million (previous year: CHF 12 million).
After reporting a loss of CHF 19 million in the first half of the year, GNT delivered a net profit of CHF 6 million in the second half of 2007 following restructuring measures. Excluding the GNT Group, ALSO increased its net sales by 18%, its operating profit by 26% and its net profit by 17%.
Schindler Holding Ltd. closed the financial year 2007 with a net profit of CHF 874 million (previous year: CHF 233 million). This exceptional growth in profit was due to revenues from the intra-group transactions of affiliated companies. The payment of an increased dividend of CHF 1.60 (previous year: CHF 1.30) per registered share and per bearer participation certificate will be proposed to the General Meeting on March 26, 2008.
The construction industry is likely to experience a slowdown in growth in 2008, although growth rates may differ from region to region. Economic momentum is expected to weaken in North America and certain European countries in particular. In 2008, ALSO will strive to further improve profitability and expects Group net sales to significantly exceed CHF 5 billion and net profit to total approximately CHF 30 million. Excluding any unforeseeable events, it is anticipated that Schindler will report a net profit of over CHF 630 million and an operating margin of 10% in its core business for the financial year 2008.