BWT Continues on Road to Success
The BWT Best Water Technology Group, European market leader in water treatment, has closed the third quarter of the 2004 financial year with clear increases in sales and earnings and expects record results for the full year.
In particular, the Aqua Ecolife Technologies (AET) segment has contributed to this positive development.
In the first nine months of 2004, consolidated BWT Group sales exceeded the previous year's by 20.8%, with total sales of € 355.3 m (2003: € 294.1 million). The Aqua Ecolife Technologies segment grew by 22.3% to € 234.8 m and Aqua Systems Technologies business by 16.0% to € 118.3 m. In the Fuel Cell Membrane Technologies segment, the turnover was € 2.2 m. In the third quarter, sales were up by 11.9%, totalling € 112.6 m (2003: € 100.7 m).
For the AET segment in the first nine months of this year, the order intake with a total of € 241.6 m shows 20% growth on the previous year. In the AST segment, an increase from € 90 m to € 120 m (+33%) was achieved, in particular by order intakes from the pharmaceutical and semiconductor industries. Order intake therefore totalled € 364.0 m (+24.9% y.o.y.).
EBIT and Group earnings
EBIT for the Group increased about 81.1% (€ 21.6 m, 2003: € 11,9 m) to 6.1% of sales, compared with 4.0% in the same period of the previous year. BWT was therefore able to continue the encouraging EBIT growth of the first half of the year. This is the result of earnings development in the AET segment, where the previous year’s figure was exceeded by 23.5%, or € 27.1 m (11.5% of sales). In the third quarter, EBIT reached 12.3% of sales at € 9.4 m. In the AST segment, lower sales in the third quarter led to an operating loss of € 4 m. In the FCMT segment, the operating loss was distinctly reduced in comparison with the previous year, despite development activity being continued at a high level.
The financial result improved by 18.2% to € -1.3 m; earnings before tax at € 20.3 m (2003: € 10.3 m) almost doubled as against the previous year. The consolidated tax ratio increased from 38% to 40%, earnings after tax rose by 87.6% to € 12.1 m (2003: € 6.4 m). Consolidated earnings after minorities rose by 91.4% to € 12.0 m and earnings per share were € 0.67 (PY: € 0.35).
Gearing further improved
Improved consolidated earnings led to an increased cash flow from the result of 30% to € 21.2 m (2003: € 16.3 m). Changes in working capital remained neutral despite the noticeably higher sales. Consequently, at € 20.1 m, cash flow from operating activities was at the same level as in the previous year. The intensified investment activity and the payment of a dividend of € 4.3 m resulted in net debt of just under € 80 m. Gearing was further improved to 60.3% (2003: 69.2%).
As at 30 September 2004, the total number of employees in the BWT Group was 2,723 (30.09.2003: 2,454). The increase is attributable to the acquisition of HOH and the expansion of AST operations in Asia.
Outlook: targets will be exceeded
The Management Board anticipates consolidated Group sales of more than € 450 m for the 2004 financial year and consolidated earnings of more than € 15 m. CEO Andreas Weissenbacher, “This means that the original forecasts for 2004 will be exceeded and record earnings in the history of BWT achieved. On the basis of this encouraging earnings outlook and in line with current dividend policy, the Management Board will propose to the next Annual General Meeting that the dividend be increased from previously € 0.24 per share to € 0.27 per share (+12.5%).”
BWT Best Water Technology is the leading European water technology group, comprising 67 companies and over 2,700 employees. BWT devotes its efforts to the entire water cycle, “from source back to earth”. With its business segments Aqua Ecolife Technologies and Aqua Systems Technologies, the Group offers customised, sustainable products and solutions in the areas of drinking water, swimming pool water, process water, ultra-pure water, and waste water for individual homes, hotels, industry, and municipalities. With its third business segment Fuel Cell Membrane Technologies, BWT is well positioned as a premier supplier of innovative membranes for fuel cells. More information on BWT Best Water Technologies can be found on the web site.
Source: BWT Wassertechnik GmbH