CHRIST WATER TECHNOLOGY AG

euro adhoc: CHRIST WATER TECHNOLOGY AG
Financial Figures/Balance Sheet / CHRIST reports strong growth in the first half-year 2006

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18.08.2006

-          Order intake remains on a high level
-          Sales +25% to EUR 109.2 million
-          EBIT improves from EUR 0.6 million to EUR +3.0 million
-          Profit for the period rises from TEUR 137 to TEUR 1,661

The positive trend evident within the CHRIST Group continued in the second quarter of 2006. "We made great progress in most areas and take advantage of growth opportunities benefiting from a positive capital goods investment cycle," says Karl Michael Millauer, CEO, commenting on the first half-year figures.

Order receipts for the first half of the year were on target at EUR 110.6 million almost matching the prior year's figure of EUR 117.4 million, which had been based on a greater number of orders for municipal drinking and wastewater projects. At EUR 147.8 million, orders on hand were up 25% on the prior year (EUR 118.1 million).

Sales increased by 25% from EUR 87.1 million in the first half of 2005 to EUR 109.2 million in 2006.

@@start.t2@@Sales per segment (in EUR '000) 1 - 6 / 2006      1 - 6 / 2005      + / - %
Pharma & Life Science                          22,525                19,169        + 18 %
Ultrapure Water                                    52,531                37,909        + 39 %
Food & Beverage                                    11,437                10,131        + 13 %
Municipal Water Treatment                    22,739                19,882        + 14 %
Total                                                  109,232                87,091        + 25 %@@end@@

The upward trend in the Pharma & Life Science segment apparent in the first quarter of this year continued and sales rose by 18% to EUR 22.5 million. In particular, the healthy state of European domestic markets, together with the project-related support of key CHRIST customers throughout the world, proved to be crucial factors for this growth.

As a major market participant in the Ultrapure Water segment, CHRIST is benefiting from buoyant market conditions in the microelectronics sector (semiconductor, printed circuit board, flat-screen industry) particularly in Asia, as well as from the growing investment in power plants in Europe and the Middle East. Sales in this segment rose to EUR 52.5 million, 39% above the prior year.

Following a downturn last year, sales in the Food & Beverage segment increased by 13% to EUR 11.4 million this year (prior year: EUR 10.1 million). This figure does not include the majority shareholding acquired in KF Service GmbH, for which a letter of intent has been issued.

The Municipal Water Treatment segment is continuing to benefit from the high demand for drinking water, desalination and wastewater treatment systems in many regions around the globe. Orders from China, Eastern Europe and the Middle East increased sales by a further 14.4% to EUR 22.7 million (prior year: EUR 19.9 million).

Sales growth in the service and spare parts business was 26.5% outperforming the increase in group sales and at EUR 16.3 million accounting for 15% of total sales.

Operating profit (EBIT) improved considerably increasing from EUR 628 thousand in 2005 to EUR 3,027 thousand in the first six months 2006. This represents a four-fold increase in the EBIT margin from 0.7% to 2.8% in relation to sales.

EBIT per segment (in EUR '000)  1 - 6 / 2006      1 - 6 / 2005
Pharma & Life Science                                816                    511
Ultrapure Water                                      2,349                  -829
Food & Beverage                                        -640                  -317
Municipal Water Treatment                         502                 1,263
Total                                                      3,027                    628

Profit growth in the Pharma & Life Science is welcome but is tarnished somewhat by negative contributions to results from the joint ventures in China and the USA. EBIT of EUR 816 thousand (prior year: EUR 511 thousand) means an EBIT margin of 3.6% and despite the competitive market environment is not reaching its potential.

Following a loss of EUR 829 thousand last year in the Ultrapure Water business sector, EBIT of EUR 2,349 thousand is a major factor in the Group result. By concentrating on its core competences and on a global strategy, CHRIST can benefit from economic conditions in booming microelectronics markets in the Far East. The power plant business is also providing an important impetus. Some projects have already been commissioned in Europe and the Middle East and the high number of enquiries and requests for quotes reveal the high potential for investment.

Operating losses in the Food & Beverage segment increased from EUR -317 thousand in 2005 to EUR -640 thousand in the course of the current period of adjustment. Current order receipts together with new projects that are nearing completion lead us to expect a significant improvement in earnings in the second half of the year.

The Municipal Water Treatment segment suffered a project-related decline in its operating result, falling from EUR 1,263 thousand to EUR 502 thousand. This resulted primarily from a higher volume of consortium operations at a low return together with losses in earnings at our South African and Dubai sites where however new projects in the second half of the year should lead to a recovery.

At 843, the number of employees in the Group as of 30 June 2006 remains almost unchanged compared with the number employed as of 31 December 2005 (842) but has increased compared with the number employed as of 30 June 2005 (821 employees).

The financial result of EUR -647.6 thousand represented a slight increase on the prior year (EUR 613.3 thousand). Increased interest expenditure, arising in particular from the issuing of a corporate bond at the end of April 2006, compares with higher income from financial participations.

Earnings before tax for the first half of 2006 amounted to EUR 2,379 thousand compared to a prior year value of EUR 15 thousand. Profit after tax improved from EUR 137 thousand to EUR 1,661 thousand. The overall tax ratio for the first half of the year therefore amounted to 30%.

Following the issuing of the bond and the increase in the volume of business, the balance sheet total rose from EUR 144.4 million to EUR 165.8 million. Group equity (including minority shares) increased from EUR 41.2 million, as of 31 December 2005, to EUR 42.4 million. The equity ratio, on the other hand, declined from 28.5% to 25.6 % due to the balance sheet extension.

The cash flow from operating activities improved by EUR 8.1 million compared with the first half of 2005. Liquid assets increased from EUR 7.4 million on 30 June 2005 to EUR 23 million as of the end of the first half of this year.

Outlook

The first half of the year represents a solid basis for the continued positive development of the Group in the current year. The CHRIST Group management team expects the second half of the year to continue in a similarly successful vein. We expect Group sales to exceed EUR 200 million in the 2006 financial year accompanied by a further improvement in the EBIT margins compared with the prior year.

The appointment of Harald Wegscheider as CFO reflects management's approach to the further planned growth of the CHRIST Group.

The development of new products for core components will be accelerated further.

Further, to complement organic growth, strategically reasonable acquisition opportunities are being considered.

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ots Originaltext: CHRIST WATER TECHNOLOGY AG
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.de

Further inquiry note:
Christ Water Technology AG
Ralf Burchert
ralf.burchert@christ-water.com
Tel.: +43 6232 5011-1113

Branche: Biotechnology
ISIN:      AT0000499157
WKN:        675399
Index:    WBI, ATX Prime
Börsen:  Wiener Börse AG / official market



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