PRESS MATERIALS FOR PRESS CONFERENCE ON 4 MARCH 2004

SEMPERIT AG HOLDING INDUSTRIAL GROUP:
NEW RECORD RESULTS IN 2003

The Semperit AG Holding industrial group continued tosteer its course of sales and earnings growth again in 2003 despiteunfavorable shifts in foreign exchange rates. All four segments sharedin the impressive increases in output and sales and reported pleasinggains in market share. All group companies recorded satisfactoryresults.

The Semperit Group improved its profit before tax for the thirteenth consecutive year, setting a new record of € 44.2 million (+ 6.2 %) (tentative figure). Sales rose by 2.7 % to € 463.5 million.

In light of this continued growth, the Managing Board will proposethat the coming General Meeting of Shareholders approve another majorincrease in the dividend for this past business year.

2003 2002 Diff.in %
Sales (in Mio. €) 463.5 451.2 +2.7%
Profit before tax (in Mio. €) 44.2 41.6 +6.2%
Number of employees 5,887 5,691 +3.4%

In viewing the results, readers should keep in mind that the downward trend still in place for the US dollar made substantial inroads. The sales and earnings trends reported in euros reflect only part of the actual progress of the Semperit Group. The high sales growth at the regional level achieved in various national currencies, e.g. US dollar, Chinese RMB or Thai baht, is dramatically reduced in the accounts when translated by Group Accounting into euros. More than a third of consolidated sales are invoiced in US dollars or currencies closely linked to the US dollar.

The positive development of Semperit over these many years can be attributed to the Group's close adherence to a stringent business policy based on three strategic pillars:

  • Concentration on core

    business

  • Globalization of

    production and distribution structures and full exploitation of

    comparative competitive advantages, and

  • Constant increases in

    productivity particularly through intensified R&D in the four

    segments in order to optimize product quality and production

    processes.

This clear-cut corporate strategy has done much to enable the Semperit Group to occupy a leading competitive position on world markets in nearly all product segments.

 

SEMPERMED IMPAIRED BY WEAK DOLLAR

Demand for examination and surgical gloves remained high at Sempermed, our largest segment, thus assuring full use of capacities again at our production facilities in Austria, Thailand and China. The impressive increase in the quantity of examination gloves was supported by the favorable competitive position of our glove manufacturing plants in Asia.

Our overseas trading company Sempermed USA continued along its successful course, chalking up major gains in market share. In its short five-year history, this subsidiary has joined the ranks of the major players in the world's largest market for medical gloves.

On the European market, the gloves from the Austrian factory in Wimpassing fared well against the competition despite certain price concessions that had to be made to combat cheap imports from dollar countries, especially surgical gloves. Further increases were recorded in volume sales for examination gloves while business in industrial gloves developed superbly.

Work began on a project to expand capacity for rubber-free gloves at the Chinese production plant purchased in 2002.

 

FURTHER GROWTH AT SEMPERFLEX

The four Semperflex production locations recorded pleasing growth in the year under review. Hydraulic hose benefited on average more than other segments from the gradual upturn in demand on European markets and in the United States. Bucking the slump in the international construction industry, the segment expanded its business in elastomer sheeting. The parent facility in Wimpassing also maintained the market position of its products in the face of fierce competition. Our new trading company in Singapore energetically set about developing the Southeast Asian market for the Group.

 

GROWTH FOR PARTS AT SEMPERFORM

Although business trends varied throughout the wide-ranging Semperform Segment, overall results were satisfactory.

Gummiwerk Deggendorf in Germany handed in a particularly impressive performance once again. Despite the slump still in place for the construction industry and fierce competition, this Group company once again achieved major increases in sales volume for seal profiles for use in door, window and facade construction.

At the facility in Wimpassing, Austria, clear positive trends emerged for railway superstructure, aerial ropeways, profiles and sponge rubber whereas ski membrane sales suffered from weak demand.

In handrail production for escalators, volume sales were initially dampened by economic conditions but gradually improved as the year progressed. Business was boosted by another boom in new orders from escalator manufacturers, especially at the handrail factory in Shanghai, and by stepped up efforts in the spare parts market.

 

ABOVE-AVERAGE GROWTH AT SEMPERTRANS

Sempertrans enjoyed higher than average business growth in the year under review. The two European factories benefited from the economic upturn and from the strategic optimization of business locations involving a different concentration on product groups. Sempertrans Belchatow, the Polish conveyor belt factory, was especially successful in improving its market position. Orders at the French factory improved noticeably. The conveyor belt production operations in India made slow progress in dealing with conditions specific to the region.

 

REVIVAL IN BUSINESS EXPECTED IN 2004

Judging by the current situation, the Semperit Group will continue to steer its course of growth again in business year 2004. From our strongly competitive position, we should continue to succeed in developing new markets and enlarging our share of existing ones. The biggest risk again this year will be the unabated weakness of the US dollar, which distorts competition substantially to our detriment.

 

 

Vienna, 4 March 2004

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Monika Riedel
Director Group Communications and Sustainability
T +43 1 79777-620