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Financial year 2008: ANDRITZ shows solid business development
- Sales and earnings reach record levels
- Order intake and order backlog at high levels
- High cash position as basis for further growth
International technology Group ANDRITZ recorded a satisfactory business development during financial year 2008, despite the difficult economic environment since the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2008. Sales rose to over 3.6 billion Euros (+10% vs. 2007); order intake, at over 3.7 billion Euros, was only slightly below the previous year's record value. The order backlog was close to 4.3 billion Euros as of December 31, 2008, thus 11.3% higher than the previous year's reference value. EBITA amounted to 233.2 MEUR (+11.2% vs. 2007: 209.7 MEUR), showing slightly stronger growth than sales. Thus, the Group's EBITA margin increased to 6.5% in 2008 (2007: 6.4%). Net income (after deduction of minority interests) increased to 139.7 MEUR (2007: 134.5 MEUR). At the forthcoming Annual General Meeting, the Executive Board will propose a dividend increase to 1.10 EUR per share (2007: 1.00 EUR per share), which corresponds to a dividend payout ratio of 40.3% (2007: 38.3%).
Record sales of over 3.6 billion Euros
The ANDRITZ GROUP achieved sales in the amount of 3,609.8 MEUR in 2008, an increase of 10.0% compared to the previous year (2007: 3,282.5 MEUR), thus reaching a new record. In particular, the HYDRO and METALS business areas achieved very positive sales developments. Organic growth of Group sales was 2.2% in 2008.
Order intake only slightly below 2007 record value
The order intake of the ANDRITZ GROUP for 2008 was 3,705.3 MEUR, and thus - despite the difficult economic environment - only slightly below the previous year's record value (2007: 3,749.5 MEUR). In particular, the HYDRO business area was able to significantly increase its order intake compared to the previous year, but also the ENVIRONMENT & PROCESS and the FEED & BIOFUEL business areas recorded growth rates. The PULP & PAPER business area, on the other hand, was affected by the global economic downswing - especially during the fourth quarter of 2008 - and suffered a decline in order intake.
Order backlog of the ANDRITZ GROUP amounted to 4,277.4 MEUR as of December 31, 2008, up 11.3% from the previous year (December 31, 2007: 3,843.3 MEUR). Thus, the ANDRITZ GROUP has a solid workload for the coming quarters.
Favorable earnings development
The ANDRITZ GROUP's EBITA reached 233.2 MEUR (2007: 209.7 MEUR), thus rising 11.2% and showing slightly stronger growth than sales. Thus, the EBITA margin increased from 6.4% in 2007 to 6.5% in 2008. Excluding costs for restructuring and capacity adjustments made due to the current global financial and economic crisis, the EBITA margin amounts to 6.8%. The ANDRITZ GROUP's earnings increase in 2008 is mainly due to very good development of earnings and profitability in the HYDRO and ENVIRONMENT & PROCESS business areas.
Due to mark-to-market adjustments for money market funds required as a result of the financial crisis, the financial result for 2008 decreased to -8.1 MEUR compared to -0.1 MEUR in 2007. Net income (after deduction of minority interests) amounted to 139.7 MEUR (2007: 134.5 MEUR).
Solid net worth position and capital structure
Total assets of the ANDRITZ GROUP amounted to 3,086.3 MEUR as of December 31, 2008, which is considerably higher than at the previous year's reference date (December 31, 2007: 2,509.4 MEUR). This increase is due to the first-time consolidation of the companies acquired in 2008 and the successful issue of a public corporate bond with a volume of 150 MEUR, as well as the over-proportional increase in gross cash.
Shareholders' equity of the ANDRITZ GROUP as of December 31, 2008 was 577.4 MEUR (December 31, 2007: 481.6 MEUR); the equity ratio as of December 31, 2008 was 18.7% (December 31, 2007: 19.2%).
Gross cash as of December 31, 2008 was 821.8 MEUR (December 31, 2007: 598.8 MEUR); net liquidity rose to 408.9 MEUR (December 31, 2007: 246.5 MEUR).
The Executive Board will propose to the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders a dividend increase to 1.10 EUR per share (2007: 1.00 EUR per share), which corresponds to a dividend payout ratio of 40.3% (2007: 38.3%).
Outlook for 2009
Given the continuation of the difficult and unstable economic environment, a reliable forecast of the business development of the ANDRITZ GROUP for 2009 can only be made to a limited extent.
'The current economic environment is certainly very challenging. 2009 will be difficult, but we are wellpositioned, structurally and financially. First adjustments were made last year already to adapt the Group to the changed environment. We are watching the economic development very closely and will take further measures in good time if required,' said Dr. Wolfgang Leitner, President and CEO of ANDRITZ AG. With regard to the sales and earnings forecasts for 2009, he said: 'From today's point of view, for 2009, we expect sales of the ANDRITZ GROUP to decline by about 15% and net income to decrease compared to 2008.'
Certain statements contained in this press release constitute 'forward-looking statements.' These statements, which contain the words 'believe', 'intend', 'expect', and words of a similar meaning, reflect the Executive Board's beliefs and expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially. As a result, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. The Company disclaims any obligation to publicly announce the result of any revisions to the forward-looking statements made herein, except where it would be required to do so under applicable law.
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