2007-11-09



November 9, 2007  

Third quarter trading update 2007- Bekaert confirms strong growth

 

In the first nine months of 2007 Bekaert achieved consolidated sales of € 1 589 million and combined sales of € 2 515 million, an increase of 5.6% and 4.9% respectively. [1] [2] [3]

The consolidated sales increase was 6.7% from strong organic growth, which was partly annulled by a 2.0% negative impact from currency movements and was further boosted by a 0.9% movement in acquisitions and divestments.

 

Consolidated and combined sales by business segment

First nine months 2007

Consolidated sales

 

Combined sales

 

in millions of €

variance

 

in millions of €

variance

Advanced wire products

1 343

+6.2%

 

2 274

+6.5%

Advanced materials

150

+13.6%

 

150

+13.6%

Advanced coatings

93

-11.6%

 

93

-11.6%

Intersegment sales and others

3

 

 

-2

Total

1 589

+5.6%

 

2 515

+4.9%

 

 

 

                     Consolidated[4]                                                           Combined4  

Combined sales by activity platform

 

Advanced wire products

+6.5%

 

Advanced materials

+13.6%

Wire Europe

+11.9%

 

Stainless[5]

+40.5%

Wire North America

-4.3%

 

Fiber technologies

+10.8%

Wire Latin America

+7.7%

 

Combustion technologies

+13.1%

Wire Asia

+19.2%

 

Composites

-8.8%

Building products

+10.5%

 

 

 

Steel cord China

+56.1%

 

Advanced coatings

-11.6%

Steel cord others

-8.3%

 

Industrial coatings

-12.1%

Other advanced wire products

-2.9%

 

Specialized films

-11.4%

 

Combined sales of advanced wire products in the first nine months of 2007 were 6.5% higher.  

Sales were adversely affected by currency movements of 1.9%, mainly as a result of the strong euro.  

In Europe, Bekaert recorded sustained albeit delayed demand for wire and steel cord products. The acquisition of Cold Drawn Products Limited (United Kingdom), a supplier of special profile wire, made a substantial contribution to the sales growth. Revenue was also lifted by a better product mix driven by Bekaert's ongoing product development and improvement effort. 

In North America, Bekaert had to contend above all with a weak dollar and falling demand in the local market in the main economic sectors in which the company is active, specifically the automotive, construction and agricultural industries. Bekaert had already anticipated this slowdown and closed two production plants. The weak dollar did, however, improve export opportunities, chiefly supported by a slight increase in demand for wire for offshore applications. 

Bekaert reported strong growth in Latin America, particularly in Venezuela, Colombia and Peru. In Venezuela and Colombia, Bekaert further consolidated its position in September with the acquisition of 100% of the share capital of the Venezuelan company Vicson, S.A and 87.5% of Productora de Alambres Colombianos S.A. - Proalco S.A. In Chile, however, the company faced shrinking volumes as a result of imports from China.

In the Asian region, Bekaert increased the level of its activities on the back of rising local demand for advanced wire products. To meet this increasing demand, as in other markets in which it is active, the company is continuously adjusting its production capacity. In Jiangyin, in China, for instance, additional production capacity was activated whereas the steel cord plant in Geelong (Australia) was closed.

 

 

Sales of advanced materials in the first nine months of 2007 were up 13.6%.  

In the stainless steel activities, the increase in sales is largely attributable to the higher raw materials prices for nickel alloy wire rod compared with the corresponding period last year. By entering into a joint venture with the Indian company Mukand in order to build a production plant for stainless steel products, Bekaert confirms its belief in the growth potential of this business. The increase in fiber technologies is the result of a major one-off industrial process filtration order.

In the combustion technology business, the acquisition of Aluheat B.V. (the Netherlands), specialized in environmentally-friendly technologies for condensing boilers used in heating systems, contributed to growth.

Sales of advanced coatings in the first nine months of 2007 were 11.6% lower.

The demand for specialized film coatings fell back heavily as a result of weak demand in North America, the effect of which was amplified by the poor dollar exchange rate. For industrial coatings market conditions remained extremely competitive for Bekaert, and the company reported reduced sales of sputter hardware.

 

Combined sales by geographical area

First nine months 2007

Combined sales

 

in millions of €

variance

Europe

794

+6.0%

North America

415

-18.2%

Latin America

904

+8.2%

Asia

364

+35.8%

Other regions

38

+2.3%

Total

2 515

+4.9%

 


Outlook

Bekaert expects to maintain its revenue growth in 2007. With the acquisition of Vicson, S.A., 100% of its revenue and that of Proalco S.A. will be included in the consolidated sales with effect from October 1, 2007. The annual sales of the two companies total around € 140 million.

Financial calendar

Fourth quarter trading update 2007                                                15      February      2008

2007 results                                                                                       14      March           2008

2007 annual report available on the Internet                                   24     April              2008

First quarter trading update 2008                                                    14     May              2008

General Meeting of Shareholders                                                    14     May              2008

Dividend payable (coupon n° 9)                                                       21     May              2008

2008 half-year results                                                                           1     August         2008

Third quarter trading update 2008                                                      7     November   2008

 

These unaudited consolidated interim financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the recognition and measurement criteria of IFRS as adopted by the European Union.  The consolidated interim financial statements have been prepared using the same accounting policies and methods of computation as in the December 31, 2006 annual consolidated financial statements. This interim financial report is in compliance with the requirements issued by the CBFA and by Euronext.

 



[1]  The figures in this press release are unaudited.

[2] Combined sales are sales generated by consolidated companies plus 100% of sales of joint ventures and associates
   after intercompany elimination.

[4]  Excluding ‘intersegment sales and others’.

[5] Following the internal repositioning of its advanced materials activities, Bekaert is reporting on its activities in stainless as a
  separate activity platform within the advanced materials business segment as from January 1, 2007. Previously, stainless was
  part of wire Europe. The figures for 2006 have been restated accordingly.

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