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Bertrandt - Report on the first half of fiscal 2008/2009

Conditions underlying the automotive industry are tightening

(PresseBox) (Ehningen, ) Against the backdrop of tough economic and sector-specific conditions, the Bertrandt Group recorded a largely satisfactory business performance in the first half of fiscal 2008/2009. In the first six months of the current financial year, the engineering partner and provider of development services to the international automotive and aviation industries generated revenues of EUR 209.8 million, up from EUR 199.9 million in the previous year. EBIT came to EUR 19.4 million as opposed to EUR 22.0 million one year earlier.

Sector performance still strained

"The market for development services still provides opportunities for the medium to long term despite the currently difficult conditions underlying the automotive and aviation mobility industries," says CEO Dietmar Bichler. He adds, however, that a drop in revenues and earnings can no longer be ruled out for the upcoming months of the current financial year because of the strained state of the market. Manufacturers and system suppliers would probably, were the sector not to stabilise, carry out further cost optimisation programmes and thereby also direct their focus on spending for research and development. According to Bichler, this could result in temporary postponement of projects involving Bertrandt. Overall, Bertrandt recorded 4.9 percent year-on-year revenue growth in the first half of fiscal 2008/2009, from EUR 199.9 million to EUR 209.8 million. Measured against the economic setting, the result with EBIT down from EUR 22.0 million to EUR 19.4 million is a satisfactory one. Earnings after income taxes on 31 March 2009 were, at EUR 15.3 million, held at virtually the same level as the previous year's EUR 15.6 million. Capital spending increased from EUR 11.4 million to EUR 11.7 million and flowed into the strategic equity investment in Aeroconseil S. A. of 18 December 2008 as well as into targeted expansion and extension of the infrastructure at Bertrandt facilities.

Personnel Management

On 31 March 2009, Bertrandt employed 5,824 engineers, technicians and commercial staff across the group (5,393 on 31 March 2008). The Company has pre-emptively registered short-time working for all its German facilities to be able to respond to market fluctuation and the situation involving projects. Bichler reaffirmed the objective of wanting to safeguard jobs in the Company on a long-term basis and to retain qualified staff. Yet the extent of any short-time working in terms type, duration and extent cannot be properly estimated. Group-wide, about 400 employees are currently affected by this measure. Bertrandt intends to enhance know-how in a targeted way during the crisis with training schemes geared to customer requirements.