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Cautious optimism for 2010; expansion continues - Lenzing

17
Mar '10
The Lenzing Group managed to achieve a comparatively satisfactory result in business year 2009 despite the difficult global economic situation. This was made possible by timely countermeasures taken and also by reviving demand in core business fibers from the second quarter on.

According to preliminary figures consolidated sales declined to EUR 1.25 bill. (2008: EUR 1.33 bill.) above all due to weaker fiber prices. EBITDA of EUR 182.0 mill (2008: EUR 200.8 mill.) shrank by 9.3 %. EBIT fell by 22,7 % to EUR 100.7 mill. (2008:130.3 mill.). Lenzing therefore managed to achieve a result similar to those of 2005 and 2006.

Peter Untersperger, chairman of the management board, summing up 2009: “Our policy of supplying our customers with fibers even at temporarily unsatisfactory profit margins, of counting on an early recovery and of making optimum use of this recovery right from the start fully paid off in 2009. We gained share of supply, launched innovative product applications and set the course for further expansion. Simultaneously we successfully implemented a cost reduction program and still managed to expand the budget for research and development to almost EUR 20 mill.” And commenting on 2010: “We therefore take a confident view of 2010 and intend to enhance our position as the world market leader in cellulose fibers by introducing a number of innovative fiber products and with our program of dynamic expansion”.

Despite the crisis the Group's balance sheet structure and financial position actually improved as compared to 2008. Peter Untersperger comments. Peter Untersperger comments: “The well-being of the Lenzing Group and sustainably protected expansion are at the focus of our attention.” At the reporting date equity came to EUR 606.1 mill. (2008: 579.7 mill.). With an adjusted equity ratio of 43.5 % (2008: 42.7 %) Lenzing continues to show a solid balance sheet structure. Net debt was reduced to EUR 315.7 mill. (2008: EUR 365.4 mill.) which enabled continued expansion and made it possible to make the most of market opportunities. Net gearing, too, improved from 60.4 % to 50.2 %.

Upward trend in segment Fibers from second quarter of 2009 on
As in previous years segment Fibers dominated sales: in 2009 with a share of 85.9 % or EUR 1,090.2 mill. (2008: EUR 1,107.9 mill.). Segment EBIT declined to EUR 109.8 mill. (2008: EUR 118.1 mill.). Total fiber production amounted to 568,600 tons (2008: 540,300 tons).

Management board member Friedrich Weninger on the current fiber business situation: “After the price collapse at the end of 2008 we were able to implement price increases again from the second quarter 2009 on. In addition, our special product segment had not been affected that severely by the decline in prices and quantity demand. And we were successful with innovative products and partnerships with leading textile suppliers, as well as in the nonwovens sector.” Friedrich Weninger names major textile retailers and the US infant care retailer Costco and emphasizes the successful placement of Lenzing fibers as eco-friendly products made from renewable resources. The ecological advantages of Lenzing fibers have become important sales arguments throughout the whole value creation chain.


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