Sales Target Achieved


Pfeiffer Vacuum, a leading manufacturer of high-quality vacuum pumps, vacuum gauges, mass spectrometers and complex vacuum systems, announces its results for the year 2003.

Given the difficult economic environment of the past year, the 4.6 % decline in sales was moderate. Changes in exchange rate parities, especially the weakness of the U.S. dollar, impacted both sales and operating profit. Had the exchange rates been the same as the year before, sales of € 151.6 million would have been achieved.

There was only little change in the regional sales distribution. Totaling € 40.4 million sales in Germany remained at the same level as the year before; in the other countries of Europe, sales declined from € 50.9 million to € 48.3 million. Converted to euros, sales in the United States decreased from € 35.8 million to € 32.8 million. Expressed in U.S. dollars, the local currency, sales rose by nearly 10 % from US$ 33.9 to US$ 37.2 million.

This positive trend of development was attributable to more orders from the semiconductor industry during the second half of 2003, as well as a broader customer base with more than 200 new customers. In Japan, sales advanced by 12.6 % from € 10.2 to € 11.5 million.

The level of new orders was encouraging, rising by 3.2 % in 2003 from € 145.5 to € 150.2 million. Orders on hand on December 31 rose by 30 % from € 20.9 million in 2002 to € 27.2 million in 2003, thus affording the company a predictable planning basis for the coming months.

Accounting for 37.2 % of total sales (2002: 37.6 %), the company’s most important product continues to be the turbopump, a high-tech product that is required for manufacturing any number of things that are used in modern life. Vacuum products from Pfeiffer Vacuum aid in coating architectural glass, for example, in manufacturing semiconductor modules and analysis equipment for healthcare and the environment, as well as in producing CDs and DVDs. The percentage of total sales accounted for by vacuum systems (including DVD systems) increased from 4.7 % to 7.9 %.

Thanks to measures aimed at cutting costs and boosting efficiency, as well as an “Alliance for Work” at the company’s main production facility in Germany, it was possible to earn an operating profit of € 19.5 million (2002: €21.2 million) and an EBIT margin of 13.5 %. Interest income and efficient currency management produced a before-tax return of 16.1 % (2002: 16.4 %).

Due to non-recurring tax effects in the year 2003, the tax ratio rose to 45 % (2002: 29.3 %). This results in after-tax income of € 12.7 million (2002: €17.5 million) and earnings per share of € 1.46 (2002: € 1.99). Even after divesting funding for pension obligations in the amount of € 36 million, paying a dividend and redeeming a loan ahead of schedule, liquid assets still totaled € 29.4 million at year-end. The Management and Supervisory boards will therefore propose to the Annual Shareholders Meeting that the shareholders participate in the company’s success in the form of a dividend of € 0.40 per share and a bonus of € 0.30 per share.

Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Dondorf: “We number among the very few companies in the TecDAX index to pay a dividend, and we’ve now been doing that for the sixth year in a row. We did well last year, in spite of the problems with the dollar and the difficult economic environment. The orders we’ve received in recent months give us reason for cautious optimism. We are therefore affirming our ambitious goal of an 8-10 % rise in sales.”

At today’s financial press conference and subsequent analyst conference, Wolfgang Dondorf and the company’s new Chief Financial Officer Manfred Bender will comment on the numbers and offer an outlook for the current fiscal year.

For more information including the balance sheet, income and cash flow statements please visit the Company’s website.

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