Pfeiffer Returns to Former Profitability

11.05.2005

Pfeiffer Vacuum, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality vacuum pumps, vacuum gauges, mass spectrometers and complex vacuum systems, announces its results for the 1st quarter of 2005.

Pfeiffer Vacuum is highly satisfied with its results for the first quarter of 2005. In spite of somewhat lower sales, all key numbers improved sharply. Sales in the 1st quarter of 2004 also include sales in the amount of EUR 1.6 million stemming from the company’s DVD operations, which have since been terminated. Strict cost control, skillful purchasing negotiations and optimized production processes resulted in dramatically lower manufacturing costs – in spite of an environment of rising energy and raw materials prices. The company’s gross profit margin improved from 44.3 % in the 1st quarter of 2004 to 45.7 % in the corresponding quarter of 2005. Operating profit developed on an even more positive note, rising by 17.7 % from EUR 6.5 million in the same quarter the year before to EUR 7.6 million in Q1/2005.

With an EBIT margin of 20.2 % (2004: 16.5 %), the company is returning to its former profitability.

Net earnings advanced from EUR 4.2 to EUR 4.9 million, resulting gin an after-tax return on sales of 13.1 %!

There were minor shifts in regional sales from the corresponding quarter the year before: In Germany, sales declined from EUR 12.1 million to EUR 9.6 million, while advancing from EUR 11.8 to EUR 13.9 million in the countries of Europe outside Germany. Sales remained at roughly the same level in the United States, while declining moderately from EUR 7.3 to EUR 6.5 million in Asia and the rest of the world. This sales mix does not yet suggest any clear trend for the full year.

25 % of Pfeiffer Vacuum’s high-tech products went to industrial customers this quarter (Q1/2004: 18 %) who primarily purchased complete pumping stations and vacuum systems. This segment has been able to be significantly expanded in recent months.

The percentage of sales accounted for by customers in the analytical industry rose from 22 % to 23 %, while remaining constant at 18 % in the field of research and development. The company anticipates further growth in the analytical segment during the course of the year. The percentage of sales accounted for by the semiconductor industry declined from 16 % in Q1/2004 to 12 % in Q1/2005. The percentage of sales with the coating industry was up moderately from 14 % to 15 %.

Sales in the field of storage media, on the other hand, were down sharply, from 9 % of total sales in Q1/2004 to 3 % in Q1/2005. There are two reasons for this: In Q1/2004, Pfeiffer Vacuum had still been generating EUR 1.6 million in sales with its own DVD systems. This deficit operation has since been terminated. On the other hand, a number of DVD equipment manufacturers are battling with selling problems; as a result, the company’s sales of vacuum pumps and gauges for the metalizers in these DVD systems are also being impacted by this. The percentage of sales accounted for by the chemical and process engineering segment rose from 3 % to 4 %.

Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Dondorf on the results for the first quarter of 2005: “At our financial press conference on March 30, 2005, we announced that following our withdrawal from DVD systems business we would be returning to our former profitability this year and to an EBIT margin of at least 19 %. It is highly encouraging that we posted 20.2 % in the first quarter.

As in the first quarter, new orders received in April significantly outpaced sales. Our book-to-bill-ratio in the first quarter was 1.10. However this does not yet suggest any clear trend for the full year’s growth rates, as the general mood of the economy has tended to be cloudier again.”

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