Schaffner Holding AG

Schaffner Group records marked increase in earnings

Dividend proposal CHF 2 per share ( three-year framework agreement worth CHF 14 million for Components

    Luterbach (ots) - The Schaffner Group recorded net sales of CHF 175.4 million (fiscal 2002/2003: CHF 163.4 million) in fiscal 2003/2004, up 7.4% (5.9% after adjustment for currency effects) on the year-back figure. EBIT grew by 24% to CHF 5.9 million (CHF 4.8 million), with the net result rising to CHF 2.3 million, a significant improvement on the previous year's figure of CHF -8.3 million (CHF 1.3 million on a comparative basis before reappraisals). Net debt was further reduced to CHF 41.0 million (CHF 46.2 million), and the balance-sheet structure was strengthened once again with a gearing of 0.89. The Schaffner Group has made a solid start to the new fiscal year. The Components business has concluded a three-year framework agreement worth around CHF 14 million with a longstanding customer, while Test Systems has increased its offer volume year-on-year on a comparative basis. At the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders on January 12, 2005, shareholders will be asked to approve a dividend of CHF 2 per share. Having reached the statutory age limit, Alex Oechslin is to step down from the Board of Directors. His successor as Chairman will be Leo Steiner (Chief Executive Officer Komax Group).

    Strong growth in Components

    In fiscal 2003/2004, some 70% or CHF 122.9 million (CHF 109.3 million) of group sales were generated by the high-margin Components business and CHF 52.5 million (CHF 54.1 million) by Test Systems. Consolidated order intake was up 5.1% year-on-year at CHF 176.3 million (CHF 167.7 million). Broken down according to business, Components recorded a 12.1% rise in order intake to CHF 124.6 million (CHF 111.1 million), while Test Systems posted a fall of 8.6% to CHF 51.7 million (CHF 56.6 million). The group's book-to-bill ratio at the end of fiscal 2003/2004 was 1.01.

    Automotive and Asia are the two dynamic growth drivers

    The sector split reveals a further increase in the contribution made by the automotive sector, which generated 12% (10%) of sales. With a 34% (37%) share of sales, industrial electronics was the biggest contributor, while the telecommunications sector accounted for 16% (15%) of sales. In addition to these three key drivers, the Schaffner Group continues to enjoy a solid, broad-based reach in terms of both sector coverage and customer base, in particular in the area of medical technology. In geographical terms, with an increase of over 60% in sales the growth region of Asia clearly exceeded its objectives and contributed 20% (14%) to group sales. 69% (73%) of sales were generated in Europe and 11% (13%) in the Americas. Given the still huge potential of the Asian market, the Schaffner Group tripled production capacity in its Shanghai branch in August 2004.

    Proposal for a dividend of CHF 2 per share

    The Schaffner Group returned to profit in fiscal 2003/2004. With this in mind, the Board of Directors of Schaffner Holding AG will submit a proposal to the 9th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders on January 12, 2005 to pay a dividend of CHF 2 per registered share (with a par value of CHF 50).

    Changes in the Board of Directors and the Group Management

    Alex Oechslin is to step down from the Board of Directors at the 2005 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, having reached the statutory age limit. The Board of Directors has designated the current Board member Leo Steiner to succeed him as Chairman. Peter Leuthold will also leave the Board of Directors at the 2005 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders. Richard Müller, who has been a member of Schaffner's Group Management for 22 years, latterly as Executive Vice President, Head of Business Development, is to retire at the end of January 2005.

    Major order confirms solid start to the new fiscal year

    With order intake up significantly on the year-back level, the Schaffner Group has made a solid start to the new fiscal year. The Components business has concluded a three-year framework agreement worth around CHF 14 million with a longstanding major customer in the industrial electronics sector, while in Test Systems the offer volume after the first two months of the fiscal year is up on the comparative year-back figure. The dynamic growth trend in Asia is continuing, and Schaffner has established itself as a global player in the automotive sector following its entry to the US market. With innovative, new products in both its areas of activity and the restructuring program now completed, Schaffner is ideally placed to achieve its desired margin and growth targets over the long term.

ots Originaltext: Schaffner Holding AG
Internet: www.presseportal.ch/de/englisch

Contact:
Fritz Gantert
President & Chief Executive Officer
Tel.      +41/32/681'66'02
E-Mail: fgantert@schaffner.com

Martin Zwyssig
Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Tel.      +41/32/681/66'08
E-Mail: mzwyssig@schaffner.com

Schaffner Holding AG
CH-4542 Luterbach
Tel.      +41/32/681'66'26
Fax:      +41/32/681'66'30
E-Mail: www.schaffner.com



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