Demand for Ahlstrom products revive slightly in second quarter
Ahlstrom announces interim report January-June 2009. Second quarter EBIT positive due to implemented actions.
April-June 2009 compared to April-June 2008:
• Net sales were EUR 398.9 million (465.9).
• EBIT amounted to EUR 9.7 million (19.4). The figure includes non-recurring items of EUR -3.0 million (-0.1).
• Profit before taxes was EUR 4.7 million (14.2) and earnings per share were EUR 0.05 (0.22)
• Net cash from operating activities increased to EUR 72.8 million (5.4).
January-June 2009 compared to January-June 2008:
• Net sales were EUR 775.0 million (932.2).
• Operating loss amounted to EUR 1.0 million (operating profit of 38.7).
The figure includes non-recurring items of EUR -3.7 million (0.8).
• Loss before taxes was EUR 13.9 million (profit before taxes of 25.4) and earnings per share were EUR -0.21 (0.37).
• Net cash from operating activities increased to EUR 93.7 million (46.1).
Events in April-June 2009
• A new restructuring program of EUR 50 million was announced on April 29, 2009. The full effect of the program will be visible in 2010.
• The company initiated a project to decrease cash tied up in working capital. The aim is to decrease the working capital by EUR 100 million in two years.
• The maturity structure of the loan portfolio was extended by new medium-term bilateral loan facility agreements of EUR 55 million. Ahlstrom also finalized an agreement on the refinancing of a credit facility of EUR 200 million expiring at the end of 2009. The new financing agreement of EUR 200 million was signed after the review period on July 15, 2009.
Outlook for 2009
• The market environment will continue to be challenging and difficult to forecast. The demand for Ahlstrom products revived slightly in the second quarter, but it is anticipated to continue at a low level.
Jan Lång, President & CEO, comments on January-June 2009:
- In a continuously challenging market situation we managed to reach a profitable April-June EBIT by restructuring our operations. The streamlining measures and cost reductions in the first months are visible in the result. In addition, raw material prices decreased and market demand picked up slightly toward the end of the period. We have also successfully focused on improving our cash flow and decreased our net liabilities by almost EUR 30 million since the turn of the year. In addition, we have strengthened the company's funding base with the support of our relationship banks. Thanks to the new financing arrangements, the company's financing rests on a solid base.
The very challenging market conditions that emerged during the last quarter of 2008 prevailed during the first two quarters of 2009, and the demand for most of Ahlstrom's products was weak. However, the weakening of the demand stopped and the demand for some products picked up toward the end of the review period.