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Bobst SA

Half-year Report as of 30 June 2001

    Lausanne/Prilly (ots) -

    The Bobst Group

    The Bobst Group is the world's foremost supplier of products and services in the field of solid board, corrugated board and flexible packaging industry.

    A dedicated sales and service network with offices in more than 100 countries is able to provide the advice and assistance to users, whatever the regional characteristics involved.

    TO OUR SHAREHOLDERS

    After strong bookings during the first quarter, and this despite the economic slowdown in North America, the second quarter has registered a decrease in order entry. The good growth of turnover during the first half-year 2001 will not continue during the second half-year. An increase of the net profit is nonetheless expected.

    Evolution of the activity during the first half-year

    The bookings for the majority of the Bobst Group product lines have increased during the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year. Thus, the economic slowdown in North America could be comensated by the good situation in the other regions of the world.

    However, the persistence of this slowdown combined with the difficult economic  situation in certain Latin American countries and the gloomy economic climate in Japan has had a negative impact on bookings during the second quarter. For the whole of the first half-year 2001, the bookings are lower compared with the same period last year. This comparison should however be put into perspective, as the first half-year 2000 was marked by an exceptionally strong business activity in our customers' industries.

    The figures

    The turnover has progressed by 6.5% during the first six months of 2001 and has reached CHF 675.7m compared with CHF 634.5m in 2000. This improvement is due to three factors: 1.0% increase in volume, 6.5% rise as a result of the change in the scope of the consolidation, and 1.0% decrease due to the evolution of the exchange rates.

    The operating result amounts to CHF 57.8m compared with CHF 57.2m last year. It is strongly influenced by the product and geographical mix of the turnover, as well as by operating costs incurred during the first six months, which will not be recurrent during the second half-year 2001.

    The net profit has increased by a very satisfactory 8.6% to reach CHF 45.7m.

    The consolidated Balance Sheet shows a decrease of the equity and an increase of the debts due to the repurchase of shares associated with the issue of put options to all shareholders for a total amount of CHF 235.5m.

    As already announced, the second phase of the capital restructuring will take place this autumn with a public offer to exchange shares, accompanied by an exchange premium for the shareholders who participate in the exchange. The objectives of this transaction are to reduce the equity by about CHF 88.0m and to introduce the single registered share.

    Outlook for the second half-year 2001

    In view of the present economic situation, the forecast for the next few months is uncertain. A continuation of the temporary contraction in the field of the packaging industry is probable. The hesitations regarding investment decisions observed during the second quarter are likely to continue.

    The Group turnover will probably reach a level similar to the one in 2000. However, due to the change in the scope of the consolidation in relation with last year's acquisition/alliance (Fairfield Enterprises Inc. and BHS Corrugated GmbH), the turnover will still increase by 1 to 2%.

    The evolution of the exchange rates is not foreseeable. An increase in net profit is expected. The year 2001 will not have to absorb extraordinary restructuring costs, and the profitability in several business areas is improving. This evolution, together with the reduction of the equity which will be accomplished this year, will considerably increase the return on equity. Thus, the single registered share should get the attention it deserves on the stock exchange.

    The Half Year Report 2001 can be downloaded from the enclosed link: www.bobst.ch/e/investor_gr/pdf_investor/in_halfyear_report_01_e.pdf

ots Originaltext: Bobst SA
Internet: www.newsaktuell.ch

Contact:
Bobst SA
Fabrique de machines et d'équipements pour le cartonnage
et les arts graphiques
P.O. Box
CH-1001 Lausanne
Phone +41 21 621 26 22
Phone +41 21 621 25 60 (Analyst/Investor)
E-mail: ph.santoro@bobstgroup.com
Internet: www.bobstgroup.com



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