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Degussa Posts “Respectable” 2003

Published on 2004-03-09. Author : SpecialChem

Fiscal 2003: A respectable operating performance - Decline in sales and EBIT held in check

Dividend unchanged at € 1.10 per share

Outlook for core businesses in 2004: Slight improvement in EBIT expected

"We took prompt action to counter the difficult economic trends in the past fiscal year. As a result of this, we were able to limit the decline in sales and EBIT," reported Prof. Utz-Hellmuth Felcht, Chairman of Degussa's Board of Management at the company's Financial Press Conference in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Tuesday.

The core businesses reported a 3 percent decline in sales to € 10.7 billion (2002: €11.0 billion). Overall - including the activities scheduled for divestment - sales slipped 3 percent year-on-year to € 11.4 billion(2002: € 11.8 billion).EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) came to € 902 million, down 5 percent from the previous year's level of € 953 million. Overall EBIT slipped 6 percent to € 878 million (2002: € 936 million).

Compared with international competitors, these key data show that Degussa's operations held up well despite the challenging business conditions.The operating result, i.e. EBIT after interest, was in line with the previous year at € 658 million.Group net income was minus € 159 million, down from € 227 million in 2002. This was mainly due to a € 500 million impairment charge for the Fine Chemicals Business Unit.

To give shareholders an appropriate share in the company's sound operating performance, at the Annual Shareholders' Meeting on May 7, 2004 the Board of Management and Supervisory Board will be proposing an unchanged dividend of € 1.10 per share.

"Degussa has a balanced financial and capital structure," stressed Degussa's Chief Financial Officer, Heinz-Joachim Wagner.

Shareholders' equity was € 5 billion at year-end 2003, giving an equity ratio of 35.8 percent (2002: 37.4 percent). Net financial debt was at € 2,379 million, which is € 163 million lower than on December 31, 2002.

Felcht commented as follows on the outlook for 2004: "The strength of the euro is continuing to affect our business but there are initial signs of a cyclical upturn. We therefore expect our core businesses to report a slight improvement in sales and EBIT compared with 2003. All divisions should contribute roughly equally to this."

Source: Degussa


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