Basler AG: Second quarter of 2009 characterised by global economic and financial crisis, trough in demand presumably reached

(PresseBox) ( Ahrensburg, )
- Incoming orders: EUR 6.7 million (previous year: EUR 18.3 million), sales: EUR 8.1 million (previous year: EUR 15 million), pre-tax earnings: EUR -4.9 million (previous year: EUR 1.4 million), free cash flow: EUR -0.8 million (previous year: EUR 0.3 million)
- Execution of the corporate strategy and cost-cutting program are complete; onetime expenses are completely represented in the half-year figures; break-even point is significantly reduced

As of the second quarter of 2009, the macroeconomic conditions for manufacturers of industrial goods have not yet improved. The volume of equipment investment was characterized again by a significant reduction compared to the previous year. Nonetheless, there are some first indications that the economic crisis may have reached its low during the reporting period.

The group's sales summed to EUR 8.1 million (previous year: EUR 15.0 million, -46.0 %). With EUR 6.7 million, the incoming orders were by 63.4 % below previous year's record value of EUR 18.3 million. The gross margin also deteriorated to 45.8 % (previous year: 53.1 %). The earnings before taxes (EBT) amounted to EUR -4.9 million (previous year: EUR 1.4 million). This includes one-off expenses for cost-cutting measures amounting to approx. EUR 2.9 million. The earnings before taxes and before one-off expenses amounted to EUR -2.0 million. The net results declined to EUR -4.1 million (previous year: EUR 0.9 million). In the second quarter, the free cash flow amounted to EUR -0.8 million and accordingly declined by approx. EUR 1.1 million compared to the previous year (Q2/2008: EUR 0.3 million). At the end of the reporting period, liquid assets amounted to EUR 6.7 million and increased by 39.6 % compared to the previous year.

In its "COMPONENTS" business segment, Basler AG has realized sales in the second quarter of 2009 amounting to EUR 5.6 million. Accordingly, revenue from digital cameras declined by 26.3 % below previous year's figure of EUR 7.6 million. In comparison to the first quarter of 2009 (EUR 4.3 million) sales increased again by 30.2 %. During the reporting period, incoming orders amounted to EUR 6.1 million and were again below previous year's figure (Q2/2008: EUR 8.8 million, -30.7 %). However, compared to the first quarter (Q1/2009: EUR 5.5 million), the figure increased by approx. 10.9 %.

In the "SOLUTIONS" business segment, Basler AG has realized sales revenue amounting to EUR 2.5 million in the second quarter of 2009. This implies a decrease in sales of inspection solutions from EUR 7.4 million (-66.2 %) compared to the previous year. Incoming orders in the second quarter of 2009 have continued the low values of the previous quarter. Compared to the unusually strong quarter of the previous year, the orders have declined by EUR 8.8 million reaching the low level of EUR 0.7 million (Q2/2008: EUR 9.5 million, -92.6 %). The result for the segment before interest and taxes amounted in the second quarter to EUR -3.6 million including one-off expenses for strategic adjustments and cost-cutting measures. Compared to the previous year, it therefore declined by EUR 4.6 million (Q2/2008: EUR 1.0 million).

As already stated in the report for the first quarter of 2009, since the beginning of the fiscal year, the Management Board has been reacting to the considerable decline in sales with an extensive catalog of measures. Starting from the assumption that the markets for Basler AG will only gradually recover and that recovery will reach into fiscal year 2011, the company has aligned itself towards its core businesses and core competences and towards a speedy return to the profit zone. The earnings before taxes of the first half-year of 2009 are therefore strongly characterized by one-off expenses. As the strategic adjustments will be almost complete by the end of fiscal year 2009, no further one-off expenses are planned for the second half-year. The intended lower cost level will already be reached in the course of the third quarter of 2009.

We expect slightly increasing sales for our components business and lower results for our solutions business in the second half of the year. On the group level, sales for the second half of the year should therefore be slightly above the levels for the first two quarters. Against this backdrop, we expect the group's sales for 2009 in a corridor between EUR 31 million and EUR 33 million which is distinctly below the sales level for 2008. Hence and due to significant one-off expense in the context of the cost-cutting program in the first quarter, we expect negative group's earnings before taxes in the region between EUR -8.0 million and EUR -8.5 million. Adjusted for one-off expenses, the group's earnings before taxes for 2009 will be between EUR -3.5 million and EUR -4.5 million. In the second half-year of 2009 the company will quickly approach the break-even point due to cost relief becoming effective.

The quarterly report can be downloaded from Basler AG, Dr. Dietmar Ley (CEO), An der Strusbek 60 - 62, 22926 Ahrensburg, Tel. +49 (4102) 463100, ir/,, ISIN DE 0005102008
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