Carl Zeiss Vision's revenues dropped by 3.6 percent to €849 million in the financial year ended last Sept. 30, as compared to €881 million in the previous year, and following structural changes, the number of its full-time employees declined by 14.2 percent to 9,941 at the end of the period, compared with 11,586 a year earlier.

These were the only numbers disclosed for CZV by the Carl Zeiss Group as it reported its overall results for the year. It can probably be assumed that the drop in CZV's sales prompted in part Zeiss' former financial partner in the company, EQT, to transfer its stake of 50 percent to Zeiss. Defined as its new vision care segment, CZV has been fully consolidated into Zeiss' accounts for the 2010/11 fiscal year.

In fact, vision care was the only segment within the group that experienced a sales decline. Revenues grew by 16 percent in semiconductor manufacturing, by 35 percent in industrial metrology, by 7 percent in microscopy, by 13 percent in medical technology, and by 2 percent in consumer optics and optronics. The letter segment comprises products such as binoculars, planetariums, and camera and cine lenses. It reported revenues of €316 million for the past year.

All in all, the Zeiss group booked revenues of €4,237 million for the past year, topping the 4-billion mark for the first time, compared with €2,931 million. The full consolidation of CZV boosted the turnover, but the group's organic growth was relatively strong at 10 percent.

The group's operating profit (Ebit) increased to €607 million from €423 million. Pre-tax income rose to €569 million from €324 million. Net profit reached €386 million, up from €208 million in the previous year, in spite of an apparently considerable investment in the takeover of EQT's share in CZV, which reportedly involved the elimination of about €200 million in debt and an injection of €177 million worth of new equity into the company. The consolidation of CZV did not prevent the group from posting a rather healthier equity ratio of 28 percent, down from 33 percent at the end of the previous financial year.

CZV accounted for more than half of the total staff of the Zeiss group, which consisted of 24,192 people at the end of the financial year. The consolidation of CZV boosted its total staff and shifted the proportion of the group's employees located outside Germany from 40 to 60 percent. The employees working on a full-time basis for the group in Germany received a bonus of €2,000 and a profit-sharing certificate of €360. The group created about 1,200 new jobs around the world last year.

Investments in research and development increased to €359 million across the group from €291 million. In the semiconductor area, which generated the highest turnover last year with sales of €1,378 million, Zeiss is going to introduce a new semiconductor technology after 15 years of research, called Extreme Ultraviolet Light, or EUV. This invisible shortwave light will help increase the integration density of microchip structures by a factor of ten.

Germany accounted for only 87 percent of the total turnover. In terms of local currencies and on a pro forma basis, including the results of CZV for both of the last years, group sales went up by 12 percent in Asia, by 11 percent in the Americas and by 9 percent in Europe.

The management anticipates that the group will suffer a slight reduction in its total revenues during the current financial year because of “the lack of economic momentum and the rampant uncertainty in the global economy,” partly triggered by problems with national debt. However, the importance of the Asian and Latin American markets should continue to grow significantly and develop positively over the medium and long term.