Semperit AG Holding: Strongest first quarter in the company's history

(PresseBox) ( Vienna, )
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- Revenue up 6.6% to 215.2M EUR
- Double-digit increase in EBITDA (+20.4%) and EBIT (+13.5%)
- Significant growth in the Medical Sector through the acquisition of Latexx Partners
- High profitability in the Industrial Sector despite difficult economic conditions
- Outlook affected by low visibility, goals 2015 remain unchanged

The publicly listed Semperit Group achieved significant revenue and earnings growth in the first three months of 2013, the strongest first quarter in the company's history. Revenue rose by 6.6% despite a difficult market environment, from EUR 201.8 million in the previous year to EUR 215.2 million. The Medical Sector generated significant revenue and earnings growth due to the rapid integration of Latexx Partners. In the Industrial Sector, the economic slowdown impacted revenue development negativly. This was successfully offset by optimisation measures and market share gains. Overall the profit situation could be further improved.

The Group's consolidated EBITDA at EUR 29.3 million was 20.4% higher than the previous year's figure of EUR 24.4 million. EBIT rose by 13.5% from EUR 16.5 million to EUR 18.8 million, despite higher depreciation due to investments in growth. Profitability increased accordingly: the EBITDA margin improved to 13.6% (compared to 12.1%) and the EBIT margin rose to 8.7% (from 8.2%). Earnings after taxes (net result) improved by 7.5% from EUR 11.6 million to EUR 12.5 million.

"We have started well in 2013, without any positive support from the market. We have instead benefited from the successful implementation of strategic measures. In the glove business, our growth activities in Malaysia and Thailand fully materialized. We grew sales in all relevant regions, and significantly improved our earnings despite continued price pressures," said Semperit CEO Thomas Fahnemann regarding the first quarter of 2013. "In the Industrial Sector, we succeeded against fierce economic headwinds to achieve double-digit margins and earnings growth in all segments. We were able to win new customers and additional market share."

With an equity ratio of 49.3%, unchanged since end of last year, and an increase to EUR 145.5 million (+9.1%) in available cash and cash equivalents, Semperit is operating on an excellent financial basis. "Through rigorous capacity and cost management, we were able to maintain our high level of profitability in the Industrial Sector and to significantly improve our performance in the Medical Sector. Together with our solid financial basis, this will support us to grow the business further," said Semperit CFO Johannes Schmidt-Schultes.

Medical Sector: Growth through the acquisition of Latexx Partners

In the Medical Sector (the Sempermed segment) the integration of Latexx Partners showed immediate results. Sales were significantly increased in all relevant regions (Europe, America, and Asia) and the utilisation of production sites in Malaysia and Thailand was further improved. In addition, the omission of one-time cost effects in the first quarter of the previous year had a positive impact on earnings development. This was offset by negative price effects due to excess capacity and lower raw material prices compared to the first quarter of 2012.

The sector revenue increased by 21.4% to EUR 106.8 million. The sector EBITDA improved by 87.6% to EUR 12.2 million.

Industrial Sector: High profitability despite weak market conditions

In the Industrial Sector (the Semperflex, Sempertrans, and Semperform segments), the weak economic environment had a cooling off effect on revenues. However, new customers and increased market share could be won through ongoing optimisation measures and a strong sales performance.

In the Semperflex segment, European operations developed positively, while US operations recovered in the course of the quarter, and Asian business remained weak. The Sempertrans segment was booked well in the first quarter and continued to benefit from its focus on higher quality conveyor belts and the expansion of its regional presence. In the Semperform segment, cyclical commodity price declines were more than offset by volume increases. In particular, building profile sales in the high-volume markets of Eastern Europe, and handrail sales in Asia performed well.

The sector revenue of EUR 108.4 million was slightly below the previous year's figure of EUR 113.8 million. EBITDA increased from EUR 19.6 million to EUR 20.3 million.

Outlook

Despite limited visibility, the Semperit Group expects that a significant increase in consolidated revenue in 2013 is possible. This increase will mainly be driven by the full year consolidation of Latexx Partners.

In the Medical Sector, the focus will remain on the continued integration and increased capacity utilisation of Latexx Partners. Capacity utilisation in both Thailand and Malaysia is good, due to increasing orders. However, price pressure due to overcapacity will continue in the global glove market.

In the Industrial Sector, a continuation of the current business performance and, with the exception of the Semperflex segment, relatively stable demand is expected for the next two quarters. The Sempertrans segment in particular will be very well utilised until the end of the third quarter.

The Semperit Group is sticking to the growth strategy set out in 2011: the Group is committed to deliver an average double-digit revenue growth, an EBITDA margin of 12% to 15%, and an EBIT margin of 8% to 11% in the years from 2010 to 2015.

The Report for the 1st Quarter 2013 is available for download at:
http://www.semperitgroup.com/ir
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