BIOPETROL boosts sales in first quarter

Sales revenue up by nearly 35%, EBIT burdened by start-up and pre-production costs for new works

(PresseBox) ( Düsseldorf, )
BIOPETROL INDUSTRIES AG boosted consolidated sales revenue by nearly 35% in the first three months of financial year 2007 to €42.3 m (previous year: €31.4 m). Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 8.1% to €2.0 m (previous year: €1.9 m). Gross profit fell by 14% to €3.9 m (previous year: €4.5 m). The reasons were falling biodiesel prices triggered by a drop in demand due to B100 taxation in Germany and due to non-optimal production costs during the start-up phase at Rostock. As a result, the gross profit margin at 9.2% was below the previous year’s 14%. EBIT at €0.5 m was below the previous year’s €1.6 m due to preproduction costs during construction work on the two production facilities in Rotterdam.

Growth by means of capacity expansion and internationalisation
Sales growth in the first quarter was due to the new biodiesel plant in Rostock, which went into production at the end of 2006. In the first quarter, BIOPETROL produced more than 52,000 tonnes of biodiesel, or roughly 38% more year on year. “Despite of the difficult market environment, the first quarter was in line with our expectations, which is traditionally lower for the first quarter than for the remaining quarters”, says Klaus-Ulrich Henschel, CEO of BIOPETROL INDUSTRIES AG. “We have successfully begun to reduce our dependency on the German market with its surplus capacities and tax burdens. We now do more than 30% of our business with customers outside of Germany.”

Pre-production costs at Rotterdam works At BIOPETROL ROTTERDAM B.V. pre-production costs are being incurred in the construction and development stage of the new facilities with no countervailing sales revenues prior to commencement of production so that they cannot be capitalised as assets according to IFRS. Personnel expenses in the first quarter were, for example, up 51% to €1.3 m.

Sound financial structure To fund all of the planned capacity expansion, BIOPETROL issued in February a €75 m convertible bond. The equity ratio fell accordingly to 45.2% at the end of the first quarter. The balance sheet total was €168.1 m. Operative cash flow in the first quarter was below the previous year’s level at around €-8.4 m. This was due to higher stocks maintained to ensure security of supplies during the start-up phase at the Rostock works. Stocks will be run down to a normal level in the course of the year, especially in view of the anticipated higher demand from Scandinavia. Higher stocks of raw materials and finished grade were
held at Rostock to manage fluctuations in production during the start-up phase and to
ensure security of supply to our customers. Capital expenditure totalled €3.4 m (previous
year: €7.2 m).
Outlook:
BIOPETROL INDUSTRIES is maintaining its course for growth and will in 2008 as one of
the largest biodiesel producers in Europe have an annual capacity of 750,000 tonnes. The proportion of sales in Germany and reliance on the German market is to be reduced to 40% by 2008.
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