21 February 2005  Trading update fourth quarter 2004 - 20% sales growth in 2004

In the financial year 2004, Bekaert achieved consolidated and combined sales of € 2.2 billion and € 3.1 billion, an increase of 21% and 20% respectively. [1] , [2]

Consolidated and combined sales by business segment in 2004


Consolidated sales

Combined sales


in millions of €


in millions of €


Advanced wire products

1 500


2 411


Fencing systems Europe[3]





Advanced materials





Advanced coatings





Intersegment sales/others






2 173


3 144


Combined sales by activity platform in 2004


Advanced wire products:


Advanced materials


Wire Europe


Fibre technologies


Wire North America


Combustion technologies


Wire Latin America




Wire Asia




Building products


Advanced coatings


Steel cord China


Industrial coatings


Steel cord others


Specialised films


Other advanced wire products








Fencing systems Europe




The consolidated sales’ increase was 22% from organic growth and 3% from the net movement in acquisitions and divestments, while adverse currency movements amounted to 4%. 

In 2004, Bekaert achieved strong organic sales growth in all business segments. Despite continuing volatility in the raw materials markets which necessitated increases in sales prices, the company succeeded in maintaining supplies to its customers.

Consolidated sales of advanced wire products also benefitted from external growth, with the acquisition of Bekaert Hlohovec, a.s. (Slovak Republic) and of the remaining shareholding of Contours Ltd (U.S.).

Consolidated sales of advanced materials were affected by the acquisition of Solaronics Technologies and the exit from composite profiles and consolidated sales of advanced coatings by the increased stake in Sorevi S.A. (France) and in Precision Surface Technology Pte Ltd (Singapore). 

Bekaert achieved solid sales growth in all regions. The company maintained its positions in Europe and North America and performed well in the growth markets of Latin America and Asia. Demand for steel cord products for tyre manufacturing was strong worldwide. In China, government regulations have resulted in a temporary slow-down in market growth, but during the fourth quarter, sales of steel cord China improved slightly.

Combined sales by geographical area in 2004

Events subsequent to the balance sheet date

On 12 January 2005, Bekaert signed an agreement to sell the shares of Bekaert Fencing NV to the investment company Gilde for an enterprise value of € 281.5 million.


The outlook is favourable despite the continuing challenges in the raw materials markets.

Financial calendar

2004 results                                                                         17    March        2005

2004 annual report available on internet                                    22    April           2005

First quarter trading update 2005                                             11    May           2005

General Meeting of Shareholders                                               11    May           2005

Dividend payable (coupon nr. 6)                                               18    May           2005

2005 interim results                                                                 1    August       2005

Third quarter trading update 2005                                            14    November   2005
Fourth quarter trading update 2005                                          17    February     2006

2005 results                                                                         16    March        2006


[1]   Combined sales are the sales realised by the consolidated companies, joint ventures and associated companies.

[2]   The figures in this press release are provisional and unaudited. The full annual results will be published on 17 March 2005.

[3]   The business segment fencing systems Europe consists of the companies involved in the sales transaction, ie Bekaert Fencing NV and its subsidiaries. The handling activity, formerly reported in this segment, is now reported in “intersegment sales/others”.

4   Excluding intersegment sales/others.