Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Equipment AG

euro adhoc: Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Equipment AG
New Blue Chip on Vienna Stock Exchange as of March 27 (E)

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New Blue Chip on Vienna Stock Exchange as of March 27 Proposed distribution 50 cents per share for 2002

Ternitz/Vienna - March 25, 2003. Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Equipment AG (SBO) will be listed on the prime market of the Vienna Stock Exchange from March 27 on, as announced by CEO Gerald Grohmann and CFO Franz Gritsch in the press conference on annual results held in Vienna on Tuesday. Also participating in the press conference were the chairman of the Vienna Stock Exchange AG, Stefan Zapotocky, and Birgit Kuras from Raiffeisen Centrobank, the investment bank in charge. SBO will propose to the Shareholder Meeting to distribute an unchanged 50 cents per share because of the satisfying business result achieved in 2002.

The SBO share has been listed on Nasdaq Europe since June 1997. As Mr. Grohmann said the decision to list the share in Vienna was made to reach the following targets: Improving the share’s liquidity, increased attention from the media and investors and, generally, better access to the capital market as the company is well known on the Vienna stock market. "With Schoeller-Bleckmann, a new blue chip will come to Vienna. Being one of the most successful Austrian industrial enterprises offering an attractive dividend yield we consider ourselves as a valuable addition to the Vienna Stock Exchange. What we expect for the SBO share from this step is a fair valuation and, in the medium run, more interest on the part of private investors", said Mr. Grohmann.

Satisfying annual result 2002 - proposed dividend distribution of 50 cents/share Schoeller-Bleckmann also confirmed the preliminary result for the business year of 2002 announced in January. According to the final figures group sales amounted to EURO 178.6 mill. (following EURO 216.7 mill. in the year before). The EBIT of EURO 26.1 mill. following EURO 36.6 mill. was even slightly above the preliminary result. With an EBIT margin of now 14.6 % Schoeller-Bleckmann was among the top players among its peers in 2002 and outperformed its own long-term EBIT margin average of 12.1 %.

"Following the years of 2000 and 2001 which were characterised by an overheated business situation for the oilfield industry, 2002 therefore was a satisfying regular year for SBO", Mr. Gritsch commented on the annual results. On the basis of this satisfying result the Executive Board will propose to the General Meeting to distribute - like in the year before - a dividend of EURO 0.30 per share and a premium of EURO 0.20. This amounts to a total distribution of EURO 6.5 mill.

"As expected, the business year of 2002 was volatile for SBO. The difficult overall economic situation and the aggravating conflict on Iraq were negative factors. The worldwide decline of the rig count - the most important indicator of drilling activities - by around 18 % compared with 2001 reflects the low demand for energy resulting from the overall business situation", Mr. Grohmann outlined the economic conditions prevailing in 2002. Due to consistent cost management and flexible capacity policies the company nevertheless was able to achieve a very satisfying result. SBO demonstrated its ability to generate attractive results even in a difficult environment. The net debt was reduced to EURO 49,6 mill. (following EURO 59.8 mill.) in 2002, the gearing now is 54.4% (following 59.4%). The company believes that these key figures confirm the cautious and selective growth-oriented value-strategy it has adopted.

In 2002, 74 % of SBO’s sales were generated in North America, 16 % in Europe and 10 % in other countries (Latin America and Asia). In total, 83 % of sales were generated in US dollars. As a consequence of the devaluation of the dollar against the euro around 3.5 % of the sales decline were due to currency fluctuations.

Preliminary outlook for Q1 and overall 2003 Because of the war on Iraq and the resulting insecure global political situation it is not possible to make a precise forecast of the business development in 2003, continued Mr. Grohmann and Mr. Gritsch. Recently, SBO has also been affected by the unfavourable global economic situation. Aggravated by the falling dollar-euro exchange rate this has left sales volumes in the first weeks of 2003 behind the figures achieved in the same period last year. From today’s perspective the Board expects weaker but clearly positive Q1 results quite comparable with Q2 and Q3/2002. In any case, further developments in Iraq are a major factor of uncertainty for the oilfield service industry. A lengthy war in Iraq would have a dampening effect on the global economy and hamper recovery of the oilfield service industry in the foreseeable future. However, if the political situation becomes assessable again within short business activities might pick up again already in the second half of 2003. Depending on which of the scenarios will occur, 2003 may become either a difficult year or one similar to 2002 - according to the Board’s assessment.

New IR homepage: info.sbo.at For more information about the financial results please visit also our new website info.sbo.at.

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Selected key figures: Audited consolidated results according to IAS
2002, in mill. EURO unless otherwise indicated
                                  2002    2001
Sales revenues            178.6  216.5
EBIT                            26.1    36.6
EBIT margin                 14.6 % 16.9 %
Consolidated results  11.1    19.7
Headcount                    852      924
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end of announcement            euro adhoc 25.03.2003
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Further inquiry note: Gerald Grohmann, Chief Executive Officer Tel: +43 2630/315 DW 110, e-mail: sboe@sbo.co.at Mick Stempel, Hochegger|Financials Tel.:+43 1/504 69 87 DW 85, e-mail: m.stempel@hochegger.com

Branche: Oil & Gas - Upstream activities
ISIN:      AT0000946652
WKN:        94665
Index:    NECI, Prime.market
Börsen:  Nasdaq Europe / official dealing
              Wiener Börse AG / official dealing



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