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16.12.2008 – 08:09


euro adhoc: BENE AG
Annual Reports
Bene on course for further success: recent sales increase and steady earnings in the third quarter of 2008/09.

@@start.t1@@--------------------------------------------------------------------------------   Disclosure announcement transmitted by euro adhoc. The issuer is responsible   for the content of this announcement. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------@@end@@

quaterly report


@@start.t2@@•          Consolidated sales increased by 4.5% to EUR 192.5 million
•          Profitability kept at high level
•          Significantly improved operating cash flow
•          Further expansion of strong market position through acquisition of
international major projects@@end@@

Vienna / Waidhofen/Ybbs, December 16, 2008. With another increase in sales and by keeping the profitability at a high level, the Vienna stock listed Bene AG (ISIN AT00000BENE6) stayed on course for further success in the third quarter of 2008/09.

In the third quarter of the business year 2008/09,  Bene - the international specialist for office and working environments - once again reported a sales increase of 4.5% to EUR 192.5 million (third quarter of 2007/08: EUR 184.3 million). The international local presence, the individual production and a wide, balanced product portfolio constituted the basis for this sustainable organic growth. A consideration per segments shows a sales increase in all segments, with the exception of the UK. In its home market Austria, with a sales increase of 5.4% to EUR 57.9 million in the first nine months, Bene could once more exceed the previous year´s value (third quarter of 2007/08: EUR 54.9 million). Similarly, in Germany Bene looks back on three successful quarters in 2008/09 and increases sales again by 6.4% from EUR 47.3 million to EUR 50.3 million. After the extraordinary positive reference period in the last year, in the UK segment, Bene had to pay tribute to the clearly weakened investment climate and reported a decline in sales by 38.4% to EUR 17.2 million (third quarter of 2007/08: EUR 27.9 million) in this market. Based on a strong sales increase in the second and third quarter of 2008/09, Bene once again achieved a significant rise in sales of 26.5% to EUR 25.8 million (third quarter of 2007/08: EUR 20.4 million) in the Russia segment. With a growth of 22.3% to EUR 41.3 million (third quarter of 2007/08: EUR 33.8 million), the "other markets" segment showed once more an above-average development. Beside the Ukraine, Poland and Czechia, particularly France, the Netherlands and Switzerland contributed to this substantial rise.

Despite the already noticeable impacts of the finance market crisis on the real economy, the Bene Group kept earnings and profitability at last year´s high level: The EBIT of 10.8 million remained exactly at the previous year´s level, the EBIT-margin reached 5.6% (third quarter of 2007/08: 5.9%).

Compared to the three quarters of the preceding  year, as a result of lower income from securities, the Bene Group´s financial result marginally decreased by EUR 0.5 million to EUR -0.4 million. In total, the EBT slightly dropped by 4.7% to EUR 10.4 million. The EBT-margin was 5.4% (third quarter of 2007/08: 5.9%). Despite the positive business performance in the first nine months, the Bene Group´s working capital of EUR 36.8 million (third quarter of 2007/08: EUR 36.6 million) remained constant. As of the reporting date October 31, 2008, the equity ratio decreased to 40.8% (January 31, 2008: 48.7%) due to the expansion of the balance sheet total.

A major part of the investments in the total amount of EUR 15.0 million (third quarter of 2007/08: 12.9 million) was arising from the expansion and the modernisation of the site in Waidhofen/Ybbs as well as from the adaptation and the strengthening of the distribution sites.

As of October 31, 2008, the Bene Group occupied 1,517 employees and thus 29 persons or 1.9% less than on October 31, 2007.

After the satisfactory first nine months, the Management Board absolutely positively appraises the business performance for the forth quarter of 2008/09. The broad geographic approach, the strategically right positioning in the growth markets and the strong direct sales net with the market proximity are a solid starting position to face the expected difficult next quarters to come. Except for the UK, all segments indicate a good development for the full year 2008/09. Overall, with another satisfying quarter, the Group is optimistic to increase total sales for the entire year and to keep absolute earnings steady. The generally negative atmosphere on the finance markets, initiated by the subprime and bank crisis and their impacts on the real economy must still be considered as instability factors.

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 risk and uncertainty. There may be a variety of reasons for actual results and conditions to diverge from the assumptions, on which the statements were based.

The comprehensive quarterly report is available under www.bene.com.

@@start.t3@@end of announcement                                                 euro adhoc

ots Originaltext: BENE AG
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.ch

Further inquiry note:
Investor Relations
Gerald Strohmaier, MBA
Head of Finance & Investor Relations
A-3340 Waidhofen/Ybbs
Schwarzwiesenstraße 3
Phone. +43-7442-500-3372  
Fax +43-7442-500-993372

Branche: Furnishings & Furniture
ISIN:      AT00000BENE6
Index:    ATX Prime
Börsen:  Wiener Börse AG / official market

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