Bene announces third quarter 2009/10

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quarterly report


- Economic environment negatively impacts on sales and earnings - Solid balance sheet structure and strong liquidity - Cost-cutting programme implemented

Vienna/Waidhofen an der Ybbs, December 16, 2009. Also in the third quarter of 2009/10, sales and earnings of the Bene Group were still characterised by the difficult environment in all markets. In total, sales dropped by 29.9 % to EUR 135.0 million (Q3 2008/09: EUR 192.5 million) in the first nine months of the business year 2009/10. In Austria, sales decreased by 30.8 % in total to EUR 40.0 million (Q3 2008/09: EUR 57.9 million). Likewise in Germany, sales declined compared to the previous period and with EUR 37.9 million were by 24.7 % lower than the prior year´s value (Q3 2008/09: EUR 50.3 million). The ongoing weak investment climate in the UK resulted also in sales losses in this segment: Despite successfully implemented major projects, sales dropped by 24.2 % to EUR 13.0 million (Q3 2008/09: EUR 17.2 million). In Russia, the still positive trend of the first half-year could not be continued: In the first nine months of 2009/10, sales fell by 22.0 % to EUR 20.1 million (Q3 2008/09: EUR 25.8 million). Compared to the third quarter of the preceding year, the "other markets" segment had to record a decrease in sales by 42.0 % to EUR 24.0 million (Q3 2008/09: EUR 41.3 million).

The continuing weak economic environment as well as the increased price competition for major projects in the individual markets in the first nine months of 2009/10 led to a significant decline in the earnings figures of the Bene Group compared to the reference period of the prior year. Although this development was somewhat absorbed by the personnel and material cost-cutting measures already initiated in the first quarter of 2009/10, it could however not be fully offset. The EBIT fell by EUR 19.6 million to EUR -8.8 million (Q3 2008/09: EUR 10.8 million). The EBT decreased by EUR 21.3 million to EUR -10.9 million (Q3 2008/09: EUR 10.4 million). As a result of higher interest charges from the bond issue and due to impairment losses, the year-to-date financial result deteriorated by EUR 1.7 million to EUR -2.1 million (Q3 2008/09: EUR -0.4 million).

Longer-term debt and the creation of strategic liquidity reserves were and will still be essential for the financing structure of the Bene Group. Both, the issue of a corporate bond as well as the borrowing of a long-term investment credit subsidised by the ERP-fund (European Recovery Programme) meet this requirement. At the end of the third quarter, the equity ratio amounted to 32.6 % (January 31, 2009: 46.8 %); net gearing was 32.4 % (January 31, 2009: 11.9 %).

Additions to property, plant and equipment and to tangible assets amounted to EUR 8.8 million in the first nine months of the current business year 2009/10 (Q3 2008/09: EUR 16.6 million). As the most important positions, the finalisation and the start-up of the research and innovation centre at the site in Waidhofen an der Ybbs and the modernisation of the distribution sites in Munich, Belgium and Ljubljana have to be mentioned.

On the reference date October 31, 2009, the Bene Group employed 1,295 persons. Thus, compared to the previous period, the headcount decreased by 222 employees or 14.6 %.

As late cyclical, the Bene Group is hit by both, positive and negative developments only at a later stage than other market participants. Towards the beginning of the third quarter of 2009/10, Bene experienced a certain stabilisation in the demand, although at a low level. Due to the still prevailing general uncertainty in the markets, the Management of the Bene Group cannot make any reliable estimation about a possible bottoming out in the relevant markets. As a result of the fixed cost measures implemented and the flexile work-time models, the cost situation is roughly adjusted to the current sales and earnings level. However, from today´s perspective still no reliable forecast for the overall year 2009/10 can be provided.

Note. Among others, this report contains statements on potential future developments, which were made on the basis of currently available information. Such statements, which reflect the current assessment of future developments by our Management, cannot be construed as guarantees for future performance and bear unforeseeable risks and uncertainties. There may be a variety of reasons for actual results and conditions to diverge from the assumption, on which the statements were based. The comprehensive quarterly report is available under

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ots Originaltext: BENE AG
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Further inquiry note:
Investor Relations:
Frank Wiegmann
Chairman of the Management Board
Schwarzwiesenstraße 3, A-3340 Waidhofen/Ybbs
IR Hotline: +43-7442-500-3100

Public Relations:
Ursula Grabher
Head of Public Relations
Renngasse 6, A-1010 Wien  
Tel. +43-1-534 26-1265

Branche: Furnishings & Furniture
ISIN:      AT00000BENE6
Index:    ATX Prime
Börsen:  Wien / official market

Weitere Meldungen: BENE AG

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