Bekaert delivers solid results in the first half of 2011

Half year results 2011

(PresseBox) ( Herford, )
Bekaert achieved solid financial results in the first half of 2011, in line with previous communication. The company delivered a sales growth of 16% and a continued strong cash generation (EBITDA of € 342 million, representing an EBITDA margin of 19.2%). The average EBIT margin of 13.0% reflects strong business performance in all regions. Based on the financial performance of the first half of 2011, the Board of Directors has decided to distribute a gross interim dividend of € 0.67.

Highlights[1]

- Consolidated sales of € 1.8 billion (+16%) and combined sales of € 2.4 billion (+14%)
- Gross profit of € 448 million compared with € 434 million
- EBIT of € 232 million compared with € 243 million
- EBITDA of € 342 million compared with € 349 million
- EPS: € 2.45 compared with € 3.05[2]
- Interim dividend of € 0.67

As reported before, Bekaert anticipated a demand impact as a result of measures for more controlled growth in China, which led to an overall weaker economic activity in the country. Also the expected volatility in the solar energy sector due to changed fiscal stimulus policies in the European end-markets materialized, resulting in a significant reduction in demand. Moreover, in both the energy-related and automotive sectors, the company faced increased competitive capacities in China and large inventories throughout the supply chain. Bekaert took appropriate measures to defend its market position in China, including price adjustments. The combined impact of all abovementioned events came into effect in the second quarter of 2011.

Outside China, Bekaert also performed strongly in volatile financial and economic circumstances in the first half of 2011.

Outlook

Due to uncertain global financial and economic conditions, Bekaert remains cautious on the outlook for the short to medium term. In response to growing competition, mainly in China, the company's measures to defend its market position will be continued. Early signs of slight demand pick-up indicate that the solar market downturn might have bottomed out.

In the longer term, Bekaert remains assured that its broad geographical coverage, its diversified product portfolio and its strong innovation focus will continue to be of strategic importance. Confident of continued business opportunities and supported by a healthy cash generation, the company sustains substantial investment budgets.

[1] All comparisons are made relative to the figures for the first half of 2010. The figures in this press release are provisional and unaudited.

[2] Share based data are stock-split adjusted to enable comparison.
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