SW Umwelttechnik Stoiser & Wolschner AG

euro adhoc: SW Umwelttechnik Stoiser & Wolschner AG
Quarterly or Semiannual Financial Statements
SW Umwelttechnik unveils results for 2003 (E)

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* Revenue 9% higher * Rise in CEE contribution to revenue to 71% * Underlying EBITDA up 28% * Improved POA despite negative one-time effects

At a press conference today SW Umwelttechnik joint chief executives Heinz Wolschner and Dr. Bernd Wolschner announced the company’s IAS results for 2003, which was better than expectations.

For SW Umwelttechnik (Vienna Stock Exchange symbol SWUT) the main features of financial 2003 were sharp increases in productivity, product launches, negative one-time effects due to the lower forint-euro exchange rate and the closure of a site in Germany.

Revenue rose by 9.1% to EUR75.4 million (m) (2002: EUR69.1 m). This improvement was due to further gains in market shares in Hungary which more than offset the effects of shrinking demand in Austria and the closure of the German operation. Hungarian sales as a proportion of overall revenue rose from 62% to 67% despite the 11% devaluation of the Hungarian forint (HUF) against the euro, while Austria’s contribution to sales dropped from 31% to 25%, and that of other EU member states from 6% to 4%. Exports to Croatia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia rose from 1% to 4% of total revenue. Underlying revenue, with the HUF exchange rate effect stripped out, was up by 12%.

Due to the positive trend in Hungary and the new factory to the south of Budapest, the revenue contributions of SW Umwelttechnik's Infrastructure and Engineering business sectors expanded from 32% to 39%, and from 29% to 33%, respectively. That of the Water Conservation sector contracted from 39% to 28% owing to adverse market conditions.

Order backlog at balance sheet date was down from EUR23.8m to EUR13.0m. The decline arose from delays in contract awards in Hungary due to public spending restrictions and the statistical effect of recording at balance sheet date. New bookings this year increased order backlog to EUR24m as of February 2004, compared to EUR26m for the like month of 2003.

Earnings

Underlying EBIT advanced by 95%, from EUR2.2m to EUR4.3m, reflecting higher productivity, increased revenue in CEE countries and restructuring in Austria. Despite the cost of closing a loss-making site in Germany (EUR0.8m), EBIT rose to EUR3.4m from EUR1.2m in 2002. Underlying EBITDA also increased, climbing by 28%, from EUR6.2m to EUR7.9m, as a result of the lower cost base, and the EBITDA margin grew to 10.5%.

Finance cost was up from EUR0.8m in 2002 to EUR2.9m. The increase in this item was caused by exchange losses of EUR1.2m in 2003 due the fact that the financing of Hungarian operations is partly euro denominated, as opposed to exchange gains in the previous year. Despite higher finance cost underlying POA was unchanged at EUR1.4m and reported POA after one-off items progressed from EUR0.4m to EUR0.5m — a gain of 42%. Profit after tax in 2003 was EUR0.3m compared to an after tax loss of EUR1.2m in 2002.

Capital and reserves

Capital and reserves including minorities decreased from EUR20.2m to EUR18.0m, largely as a result of the devaluation of the Hungarian forint (negative effect EUR2.1m), leading to a reduction in the equity ratio from 28.7% to 25.2%.

Employees

Despite the increase in revenue the company’s head count fell to 755 (2002: 773). Revenue per employee rose from EUR89,000 to EUR100,000.

Capital expenditure

A EUR5.2m investment programme was implemented in 2003. The main focus of investment activity was Hungary, to which 74% of all capital expenditure was channelled. Much of this spending was devoted to the second expansion phase at the new factory to the south of Budapest. Once this facility has been completed it will be economic for the Infrastructure sector to supply the entire Hungarian market, meaning that this business will be able to extend its lead in the precast structural and floor element market.

Outlook

Management will press ahead with its strategy, and anticipates a further marked improvement in profitability in 2004 despite the persistence of difficult economic conditions.

* In Hungary the Infrastructure sector continues to be able to meet strong demand from commercial and industrial customers efficiently from capacity at the new south Budapest works. The growth in this business should more than offset the negative impact of anticipated delays in public sector orders on revenue in the Engineering sector. The Engineering sector’s projects in Hungary will continue to give rise to substantial prefinancing needs.

* In Austria, SW Umwelttechnik has made significant progress towards improved earnings by reducing the number of low-margin, commodity products and entering new markets. Demand for the company’s new products (surface water protection systems, pillar systems and biogas plants) is expected to grow in 2004.

* The German operation has been closed, and most of the property let. No further significant expenditure is expected to be incurred.

* Development of the Croatian, Romanian, Slovakian and Slovenian markets has been stepped up; exports to them are sourced from existing production facilities.

Demand for water conservation and wastewater treatment equipment, infrastructure products and renewable energy in CEE countries provides SW Umwelttechnik with a strong platform for sustained growth.

end of announcement            euro adhoc 21.04.2004
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Further inquiry note: DI Heinz Wolschner, Vorstand der SW Umwelttechnik Tel.: 0043/463/32109-0, Fax: 0043/463/37667 MMag. Christian Riel, Finanzen/Investor Relations Tel.: 0043/664/4337105, Fax: 0043/1/3688686, mailto:christian.riel@sw-umwelttechnik.at Website: http://www.sw-umwelttechnik.at

Branche: Technology
ISIN:      AT0000808209
WKN:        080820
Index:    ATX Prime, ViDX, WBI
Börsen:  Wiener Börse AG / official dealing
              Berliner Wertpapierbörse / free trade
              Börse Düsseldorf / free trade
              Baden-Württembergische Wertpapierbörse / free trade



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