PRESS DOCUMENT FOR PRESS CONFERENCE OF SEMPERIT AG ON 15 MARCH 2005

NEW RECORD RESULTS IN 2004 FURTHER INCREASES IN SALES AND EARNING EXPECTED IN 2005

The Semperit AG Holding remained on its long-standingcourse of growth again in 2004 in terms of sales and earnings. All four segments markedly increased their production output and gained furthermarket share in terms of sales.

The (tentative figure) for profit before tax (PBT) hit a new recordlevel for the fourteenth consecutive year, rising to € 52.0 million(+17.6 %). Sales increased by 3.0 % to € 477.4 million.

In keeping with the positive trend, the Managing Board will suggestanother major increase in the dividend at the next shareholders meetingfor the year just ended.

2004 2003 Diff.in %
Sales (in Mio. €) 477.4 463.5 +3.0%
Profit before tax (in Mio. €) 52 44.2 +17.6%
Output in thousands of tons 144 131 +9.9%
Total average employees for the year 5,710 5,886 -3.0%

In judging the reported earnings, it is important to keep in mind that earnings have been greatly reduced by the continued downslide of the US dollar, just as they were the previous year. The sales trend in euro does not give a complete picture of the actual progress of the Semperit Group. The calculated value of the regional sales in the various national currencies, e.g. US dollar, Chinese RMB or Thai baht, is dramatically reduced in the Group's translation of figures to euros. More than a third of the consolidated sales are invoiced in US dollars or currencies pegged to the dollar.

The prices for key raw materials like natural latex, oil-based synthetic rubbers or reinforcement and strength materials such as steel rope and wire remained at a high level. Owing to the fierce predatory competition in the industry, several segments were unable to pass these prices on in full in the sales prices.

The Semperit Group continued to base its business policy on the following three fundamental principals:

  • Concentration on core

    business

  • Globalization of

    production and sales structures and utilization of comparative

    competitive advantages

  • Constant rise in

    productivity, especially through intensified research and

    development in the four segments with an eye to optimizing product

    quality and production processes.

This clearly defined corporate strategy was instrumental in enabling the Semperit Group to hold a leading competitive position on international markets in virtually all product segments.

 

SEMPERMED AS A FRONTRUNNER IN ITS INDUSTRY

Sempermed improved its position as one of the world's most successful suppliers of protective gloves. The segment's Austrian, Thai and Chinese production facilities made full use of capacity again thanks to the strong international demand for examination and surgical gloves. The Asian glove factories were particularly successful in utilizing their favorable competitive position to achieve impressive gains in volume sales.

Our marketing company in the United States, the world's biggest market for medical gloves, geared its sales policy to the still weak dollar. This meant selling products particularly from the Thai factories to achieve the best possible results. Given the good utilization of capacity for examination gloves, the segment accepted certain declines in volume sales in the extremely price-sensitive industrial mass market.

In European markets, the price level triggered declines in volume sales for standard surgical gloves. Yet these downturns were offset by marked increases in sales of supreme surgical gloves, examination and industrial gloves. The segment enjoyed brisk business in high-quality synthetic gloves, thanks especially to heavy demand by industry.

 

DYNAMIC GROWTH AT SEMPERFLEX

Semperflex made an impressively dynamic showing in 2004 thanks to extremely lively demand throughout the year. The segment drew on all of its capacity reserves in hydraulic hose production to fill orders on schedule and achieved double-digit growth in the process. Extensive investments were made to expand capacity. As a result, Semperflex has joined the ranks of the world's leading hydraulic hose manufacturers. Growth in industrial hose nearly matched the strong figure for hydraulic hose.

 

SEMPERFORM ESPECIALLY SUCCESSFUL IN ASIA

The five factories in the Semperform Segment achieved satisfactory overall growth. However, the segment was unable to push through anything more than moderate price increases in dollar markets. Consequently, its deliveries to these markets increasingly felt the effects of poor margins. The segment was unable to pass on the upsurge in the prices of certain materials in full to end customers.

The parent factory in Wimpassing, Austria, saw the volume and value of sales develop positively, as expected. Above average growth was recorded by the following segments in particular: railway superstructure, aerial ropeway rings, pipe clamp profiles, filter membranes, skiing equipment and the spare parts market for handrails. In the elastomer profiles segment, business in construction profiles and pipe seals fell short of expectations for cyclical reasons.

In China, Shanghai Semperit Rubber & Plastic Ltd. continued its brisk expansion of business in escalator handrails.

 

MAJOR EXPANSION AT SEMPERTRANS POLAND

With its factories in Poland, France and India, the Sempertrans Group is one of the largest conveyor belt manufacturers in the world. It produces a complete range of standard transport and conveyor belts with polyester/polyamide textile bodies or steel bodies as well as heavy-duty steel cord belts of various widths and grades. Business at Sempertrans continued to shift to factories in Poland and India in 2004. The conveyor belt factory strengthened its market position in both Eastern and Western Europe. Synergies between the two European factories were further optimized. The Indian factory saw full utilization of capacity for the first time thanks to heavy cyclically induced demand. There was an increase in domestic sales and in the export ratio as a result.

 

IMPROVED EARNINGS EXPECTED AGAIN 2005

The Semperit Group will further increase sales and earnings in the current year. The strong competitive position of all four segments should lead to a further increase in market share in the Asia-Pacific region in particular and to the development of new sales regions. However, the weakness of the US dollar will continues to pose a risk this year and greatly distort competition to our detriment.

 

Vienna, 15th March 2005

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