Increased revenues for Consumer division; Automotive segment still performing strongly

(PresseBox) ( Freiburg, )
In the third quarter of the current year, market conditions improved somewhat for the Micronas Group. Consolidated net sales increased to CHF 222.9 million, up 17.4 percent on the previous quarter. The Automotive division again increased revenues and earnings compared with the previous quarter. Sales were also up by 23 percent compared to the previous quarter in the Consumer division. However, the persistence of serious pressure on prices, as well as the failure of the football World Cup to generate the sales boost expected by our customers, resulting in higher inventories, influenced the profitability of the Consumer division. Operating profit before interest and taxes (EBIT) reached CHF 9.6 million in the third quarter, compared to an operating loss, on an EBIT basis, of CHF 15.5 million in the previous quarter. The profit for the third quarter came in at CHF 7.3 million (compared to a loss of CHF 7.1 million in the previous quarter). Despite market successes, the 2006 business year has been a difficult one so far.

The consolidated net sales of the Micronas Group for the first nine months of the current year reached CHF 634.2 million. This represents an increase of CHF 19.9 million, or 3.2 percent, compared with the corresponding period of 2005.

Operating profit before depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) totaled CHF 37.6 million in the third quarter. This is significantly higher than in the second quarter. EBITDA for the first nine months of fiscal 2006 amounted to CHF 80.2 million. For the first nine months of the year, the operating result before interest and taxes (EBIT) was a loss of CHF 5.6 million.

While the third quarter of 2006 produced a profit for the period of CHF 7.3 million, the cumulative profit over the first nine months of the year was CHF 0.8 million. Earnings per share for the third quarter were CHF 0.25; for the first nine months, the figure was CHF 0.03.

The business of the Consumer division was boosted by the continuing high growth in worldwide demand for flat-panel TVs. Micronas, a market leader in innovative, global TV system solutions, again benefited from this dynamic market development. Compared with the previous quarter, sales of products for both flat-panel and CRT sets increased by over 20 percent.

Growth in the Automotive division slowed to 2 percent compared with the previous quarter, owing to a number of customers initiating inventory corrections. The next generation of our most successful Hall sensors was launched onto the market in the third quarter of the current year. The business with automotive controllers continued to progress well.

On the basis of the information currently available, we expect sales for the year as a whole to decline by about 5 percent compared with 2005. For the fourth quarter of the current year, we reckon with a gross margin of around 30 percent and a net loss of CHF 15 to 20 million.

The Micronas Group is a leading independent supplier of innovative application-specific semiconductor solutions for consumer and automotive electronics. Its shares are listed on the SWX Swiss Exchange in Zurich.
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