2003-05-14 bis



14 May 2003   First Quarter 2003 Trading Update

Good first quarter performance

Bekaert announced today its first quarter trading update, which was closed on 31 March 2003.

  

  • At constant currencies, consolidated sales increased by 2 %.  Based on real currencies, consolidated sales decreased by 7.2 %.
  • All business units have contributed to an increased profit from operations.  The transaction effect of the lower dollar was limited.
  • The share in the profit of companies accounted for under the equity method has sharply increased.
  • Despite the important negative translation effect of the dollar, consolidated profit has substantially increased and all profitability ratio’s have improved.

In spite of lower sales, mainly due to the value of the dollar, the Bekaert Group achieved in the first quarter 2003 a higher profit from operations and a higher consolidated net profit compared to the same period of 2002.

Consolidated sales of Bekaert Advanced Materials were at the same level of previous year despite a weak dollar.  Both “Combustion Technology” and “Advanced Coatings” performed very well.

The high activity level in Steelcord has almost completely compensated for the weak dollarConsolidated sales decreased by 2.2 % only.  World-wide demand for tire cord was high, partly due to the disappearance of a competitor in the North American market.  Bekaert has decided to increase its capacity substantially, among others by building a third steel cord plant in China.   Demand for all other steel cord products was good.

Consolidated sales of Wire in the first quarter have decreased by 16 % compared to previous year.  The decrease is largely explained by weak demand and a low value of the dollar in North America and the closing of some activities like wire for pre-formed staples in Europe.  Sales of “Building Products” were higher than previous year.  The activity in Latin America was high, which had a favourable effect on the share in the profit of companies accounted for under the equity method.  Sales of wire in Asia have also increased. 

Consolidated sales of Bekaert Fencing were at the same level of previous year.  The improved product mix and the favourable effect of the restructuring programme, which has been implemented last year, contributed to a substantially higher profit from operations.  The “”Handling” division, which was in a loss position last year, returned to profit in the first quarter of this year. 

Outlook

The current overall order book is good, despite weakness in the German and North American markets and uncertainty of the level of the dollar.

Financial calendar:

     - First quarter 2003 and Annual General Meeting                 : 14 May 2003

     - Dividend payable (coupon n° 4)                                        : 21 May 2003

     - Second quarter and 2003 interim results                     :       28 July 2003

     - Third quarter trading update                                              :14 Nov. 2003

       Financial analysts:

     - Teleconference on 2003 interim results                               28 July 2003

     - Analysts’ day at Bekaert                                                  19 Dec. 2003

 

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