PRESS RELEASE NO. 4/2004

SEMPERIT REMAINS ON GROWTH COURSE IN FIRST SEMESTER NEW RECORD RESULTS EXPECTED FOR 2004 AS A WHOLE

The industrial group of Semperit AG Holding held steady to its course of growth once again in the second quarter of 2004. Consolidated sales increased over the same period the year before by 4% to € 244.6 million while profit before tax (PBT) rose at a proportionately much faster rate of 17% to € 27.1 million.

The Managing Board therefore expects consolidated sales and profits for the year as a whole to further increase and to reach new record levels for the fourteenth consecutive year.

The heavy burden of the weak dollar and the unabated strong rise in prices for key raw materials caused considerable difficulties entailing painful distortions of competition in some cases. However, with intensive programs to optimize production processes and other operational measures to improve productivity, the company effectively supplemented its limited possibilities for price increases and further improved the earnings situation.

Semperit at a Glance (in € million)

1-6/00 1-6/01 1-6/02 1-6/03 1-6/04 Diff. 04/03
Sales 178.2 198.5 222.3 234.7 244.6 + 4.2 %
Profit before tax 18.2 20.2 21.6 23.1 27.1 +17.3 %
Total employees 5,062 5,222 5,902 6,069 5,830 -3.9 %

WEAK DOLLAR CURBS GROWTH AT SEMPERMED

Sempermed is the group's largest segment with a 38% share in total sales. All Sempermed production sites reported full utilization of capacity and continued implementing far-reaching cost-reduction programs to offset the impairment of competitiveness caused by the weak dollar.

Europe: Sempermed Europe has its production operations in the parent plant in Wimpassing, Austria. Difficulties encountered in selling surgical gloves were offset here by significant increases in the value of examination glove sales.

Asia: The two Thai factories of Siam Sempermed posted overall results in line with expectations thanks to intensive cost reduction programs and an improved product mix. The Chinese vinyl glove production operations of Shanghai Foremost fell somewhat short of its budgeted profit target owing to the sharp rise in the cost of raw materials.

USA: The sales company Sempermed USA further increased its market share in the world's largest glove market.

 

DYNAMIC GROWTH AT SEMPERFLEX

Semperflex (with a 27% share in total sales) continued its dynamic growth unabated in the period under review, assuring once again full utilization of production capacities. Market demand remained exceptionally strong in the hydraulic hose segment. Industrial hose sales varied whereas sales of elastomer sheeting were on target.

Europe: At the parent plant in Wimpassing, industrial hose production improved its position on core European markets despite increasingly aggressive pricing by competitors from low-wage countries in Eastern Europe and the Far East. Semperflex Optimit, the group's Czech hose factory, recorded a new record output. At the Italian subsidiary Roiter, the restructuring of the sales organization bore its first fruit.

Asia: The Thai hose factory Semperflex Asia benefited from a considerable revival of demand from the US and Europe.

 

ENCOURAGING GROWTH AT SEMPERFORM

Semperform (with a 19% share in total sales) recorded above average growth in the period under review, which also brought about encouraging improvements in the earnings situation.

Europe: The parent plant in Wimpassing, Austria, houses the product units handrails, aerial ropeway rings, industrial articles, parts for automotive suppliers, filter membranes as well as railway superstructure and wagon construction. Performance varied in the different units owing to factors specific to each of their markets. The factory in Sopron, Hungary, developed as planned. The German construction profile manufacturer Semperit Gummiwerk Deggendorf increased its sales volume and its market share despite the recession still plaguing the German construction industry. This enterprise also posted further impressive gains in export business.

Asia: The Chinese handrail factory Shanghai Semperit Rubber & Plastic Products recorded tremendous business growth in the period under review. The upsurge in orders was filled on schedule thanks to the installation of new production capacity at mid-year. Semperform Pacific in Thailand also reported a much improved course of business.

 

DIVERGENT DEVELOPMENTS AT SEMPERTRANS

Impetus for growth at Sempertrans (with a 17% share in total sales) came mostly from the group subsidiaries in Poland and India.

Europe: The Polish conveyor belt manufacturer Sempertrans Belchatow stepped up business in metal belts in the Eastern European markets in particular and also benefited from its sales alliance with the group's French production company Sempertrans France Belting Technology (SFBT). SFBT, for its part, reported weaker demand and unsatisfactory prices for textile belts as a result of excess capacities worldwide.

Asia: The Indian group company Sempertrans Nirlon made great strides in improving productivity and in optimizing production on full utilization of capacities.

 

SEMPERIT STOCK OPTION PLAN

Under the stock option plan passed by the Shareholders' Meeting in 2002, Semperit employees acquired 54,843 shares of stock in June 2004.

 

Vienna, 27 August 2004

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