Pfeiffer Vacuum meets sales target

25.03.2003

Pfeiffer Vacuum, leading manufacturer of high-quality vacuum pumps, vacuum gauges and complex vacuum systems, announces its results for fiscal 2002.

Highlights at a glance

2002 2001Change
Sales€ 150.9 million€ 170.1 million-11.3 %
Operating profit (EBIT)€ 21.2 million€ 28.2 million-24.9 %
After-tax income€ 17.5 million€ 18.9 million-7.1 %
Earnings per share€ 1.99€ 2.16-7.9 %
New orders€ 145.5 million€ 158.6 million-8.3 %

Sales declined in all regions and marktet segments. Especially in the US sales slumped sharply, by 20 % compared to the previous year. Despite these lower sales, Pfeiffer Vacuum did not only manage to sustain its gross margin but to increase it from 45.3 % in 2001 to 46.8 %. Once more the company succeeded in reducing its manufacturing costs and in bearing up against competitive price pressure. Pfeiffer was also able to moderately reduce sales and marketing costs from € 24.7 million in 2001 to € 23.2 million in 2002, while general and administrative costs remained at last year's level. Research and development expenses rose from € 8.1 million in 2001 to € 10.4 million in 2002, which represents an R & D expense ratio of 6.9 %. This increase mainly results from expenditures for the development of DVD systems.

Pfeiffer Vacuum's operating profit of 21.2 million, or 14.0 % of the sales, again demonstrates the company's earning power. Due to interest incomes, skillful foreign exchange management and a markedly more favorable tax rate it was possible to achieve an after-tax income of € 17.5 million in 2002, which is only 7.1 % below last year's level (€ 18.9 million). At 11.6 %, net return on sales reached its highest level in the company's history. The balance showed that cash and cash equivalents rose from € 65.0 million in 2001 to € 72.3 million in 2002.

Given these good results, the Management and Supervisory Board will propose that the Annual Shareholders Meeting resolve the distribution of a dividend equal to that paid the year before, i.e. € 0.56 per no-par share.

Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Dondorf: "We have met our sales forecasts. Our EBIT margin of 14.0 % clearly surpassed our targets. Thanks to strict cost management and greater market presence, we were able to overcome the second difficult economic year in a row with only moderate declines in sales and a rarely seen double-digit return on sales. With the innovative products that will be brought to market during the course of the coming months, we are going to broaden our position of market leadership in our core business and will be ready for an economic upswing, although we do not expect this to happen before the second half of the year."

At the financial press conference and the subsequent analyst conference, Wolfgang Dondorf and Chief Financial Officer Wilfried Glaum will also be offering an outlook for the current fiscal year. In addition, this opportunity will also be used to introduce the new member of our Management Board, Amandus Waterkamp.

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