Conzzeta Group Sustains Revenue Growth

In the first four months of the new business year (January to April 2008), the Conzzeta Group (machinery and systems engineering, industrial and consumer products) increased consolidated net revenues to CHF 489.1 (473.7) million, a rise of 3.2%.

Revenues and earnings were affected by the strengthening of the Swiss franc against key export currencies. After adjustment for currency translation effects, revenue growth amounted to 7.4%. The operating result of CHF 28.7 (32.5) million includes special costs of CHF 10 million incurred by the Foam Materials business unit. On the strength of the healthy order books in the dominant machinery and systems engineering business activities, the Conzzeta Group expects the high level of capacity utilization to be sustained. However, it is hard to say whether capital spending will remain so vigorous in the second half of the year.

The business units of the Conzzeta Group continued to benefit from a generally favorable business environment in the first four months of the current year. This enabled them to sustain the momentum of the previous year, despite signs of the dynamic growth beginning to slow. The strengthening of the Swiss franc against the key export currencies (USD, EUR, GBP and CNY) compared with the same period a year ago had a substantial impact on sales and earnings. Consolidated net revenues rose by 3.2% to CHF 489.1 (473.7) million. Adjusted for currency translation effects, revenue growth amounted to 7.4%. Operating profit (EBIT) declined by 11.7% to CHF 28.7 (32.5) million; however, this figure includes special costs incurred by the Foam Materials business unit. Group profit reached CHF 22.9 million (previous year: CHF 78.5 million, although that figure included an extraordinary profit of CHF 51.5 million from the sale of real estate).

Business Units

The Sheet Metal Processing Systems business unit (Bystronic) reported sales of CHF 240.2 (242.4) million for the first four months of 2008. This slight fall compared with the previous year was attributable to exchange rate trends. Adjusted for currency translation effects, sales grew by 4.6%. The order backlog and incoming orders remained at a high level. Customers in Europe as well as North and South America continued to show a willingness to invest. In China, by contrast, growth slowed in the first four months compared with last year.

In the first four months of 2008, the Glass Processing Systems business unit (Bystronic glass) was able to increase substantially the number of customer projects completed compared with the same period a year ago. As a result, sales rose by 27.3% to CHF 85.2 (66.9) million. The insulating glass, architectural glass and laminated safety glass segments turned in a very positive performance. The latter has almost filled its order books for the 2008 business year already. As the only exception, the US market is showing signs of weakening, due to the decline in construction activity. The successful completion of major projects and high level of capacity loading are having a positive impact on profitability at all production sites. The order backlog and inflow of new orders are above the previous year's level.

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