Although the dollar recovered slightly against the euro, the group continued to face competitive disadvantages from foreign exchange rates. The sharp rise in purchase prices for natural rubber and latex, however, had a considerably stronger impact in the third quarter of the business year. Raw materials produced from crude oil in particular became much more expensive, as did energy costs.

These dramatic upsurges in price were reflected in the sharp rise in materials as a percentage of total costs in the third quarter of the year (52.5% v 48.5% last year). Owing to longer-term agreements on fixed selling prices and the persistence of fierce price competition, these higher prices were passed on only partially in sales prices and with a delay. All group companies therefore worked all the more consistently on improving productivity, increasing the efficiency of production processes and cutting back on the consumption of materials in order to assure the competitiveness of our products.

To enable further growth, the group invested substantially in its production locations in Europe and Asia to modernize facilities and enlarge capacities considerably.

Good Utilization of Capacity at Sempermed

Orders remained at a good level at Sempermed, allowing capacities in the segment to be well-utilized worldwide. Growth was recorded especially for business in examination gloves. The market environment for surgical gloves from the parent plant in Wimpassing, Austria, continued to be difficult, as competing products from dollar countries pushed onto the European market and caused currency-related tensions in competition.

Siam Sempermed operated its Thai glove factories at the full limit of their production capacities from the start of the year onwards. In September 2005, the first dip lines went on stream in the glove factory being built to expand capacity. Shanghai Foremost, the Chinese production facility, achieved satisfactory increases in the sales volume of vinyl gloves.

Hydraulic Hose Business Dominated Business Activities at Semperflex

At Semperflex, the production capacity for hydraulic hose was fully utilized at all locations. The elastomer sheeting made in Wimpassing, Austria, increased its regional market share in the face of stiff competition in Europe from Asia.

Sales increased robustly in volume and value at Wimpassing from the start of the year onwards, especially for hydraulic and spiral hose. Capacity was utilized in full. The Czech hose factory Semperflex Optimit stabilized its pace of production at a much higher level of capacity than at the same time the year before. At Semperflex Asia in Thailand, the project to expand capacity to 20 million meters of hydraulic hose was completed and the first spiral hose production machine went into operation. It will produce top-grade hose designed to withstand pressure and stress.

Diverging Trends at Semperform

Semperform recorded a slight overall increase in the value and volume of sales in the period under review. Trends diverged quite markedly in certain segments, however, especially at the parent factory in Wimpassing, Austria. Aerial ropeway rings and railway superstructure grew at above average rates, as did wagon construction, membranes and pipe gaskets. Business in cellular and sponge rubber, for its part, was impaired by competitors from Asia and Southeast Europe. New handrail business in Europe was put at a disadvantage from the increased concentration among elevator escalator makers in China, but replacement business did expand thanks to consistent marketing efforts. Preparations were made in Shanghai to move the handrail production to the new Semperflex premises. This step will also involve a modernization of equipment and an increase in capacity

The German rubber factory in Deggendorf increased capacity and pursued an aggressive pricing policy. Thanks to these efforts, the company expanded its sales volume considerably and regained market share.
The situation at Semperform Hungary remained difficult.

Sempertrans Records Strongest Growth

Sempertrans posted the biggest growth in the group in the period under review while utilizing capacity in full at all locations. The Polish conveyor belt factory Sempertrans Belchatow confirmed its dominant position and made significant gains in nearly all markets and segments. A new press line has been online there since early September. With this vulcanization press, the factory is able to produce widths of up to 3.2 meters for the first time. Consistent cost management also did its part to boost profits above par.

The performance of the French production subsidiary Sempertrans France Belting Technology (SFBT) remained unsatisfactory. The effects of further far-reaching restructuring will be felt but only in successive stages. Work was resumed at Sempertrans Nirlon in November 2005 following a lengthy strike.

Outlook for 2005: Group Expected to Stay on Growth Course

Although the overall economic climate remains difficult for the Semperit Group, further growth in sales value and volume is expected for 2005 as a whole. The Managing Board anticipates the profit before tax figure will be at the same level as last year and expects another increase in the consolidated net profit. The earnings situation will depend in large part on how raw material costs continue to develop in the short term and on whether these increases can be passed on in the selling prices. Rising purchase prices, especially for oil-based products and for natural rubber and latex, could put a damper on these expectations, as could the highly volatile foreign exchange parities, particularly between the US dollar and the euro. 

The quarterly report is available now at the Semperit homepage at www.semperit.at 
If interested, you can also request a written copy at the following address:
Semperit AG Holding, Ms. Sabina Strassnig, Modecenterstrasse 22,
A-1031 Vienna, Austria
Phone.: ++43 1 79777 214. E-mail: sabina.strassnig@semperitgroup.com

www.semperit.at

Vienna, 25 November 2005

SEMPERIT AT A GLANCE

1-9 2001 1-9 2002 1-9 2003 1-9 2004 1-9 2005 Diff. 05/04
Sales in € million 301.0 335.1 350.7 364.8 384.6 + 5.4 %
profit before tax (PBT) in € mln 30.2 31,9 33.5 40.1 40.3 + 0.6 %
total employees as of Sept. 30 5,044 5,821 5,997 5,604 6,285 +12.2 %

Current News

Vienna, 25 November 2005

PRESS RELEASE NO. 5/2005

GROWTH AT SEMPERIT CONTINUED IN 3RD QUARTER

INCREASE IN SALES AND PROFITS DESPITE DIFFICULT CONDITIONS

NEW RECORD PROFIT EXPECTED AGAIN IN 2005

The Semperit industrial group continued along its course of growth in the first three quarters of 2005. According to the third quarter report just released, consolidated sales increased year-on-year in the first nine months of 2005 by 5.4% to € 384.6 million. The profit before tax (PBT) rose by 0.6% to € 40.3 million. EBIT for the first three quarters topped the 2004 figure by 2.9% to total € 38.8 million while the financial result fell short of the previous year’s. Consolidated net profit totaled € 26.3 million as of 30 September 2005, a figure 9.4% higher than one year before. 

Contact

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