Good RHI results 2003 confirmed:earnings increase by 55%

22. April 2004

The RHI Supervisory Board approved the financial statements 2003 of RHI AG and the consolidated financial statements 2003 at its meeting on April 21, 2004. The group’s preliminary results 2003, which were published on March 23, 2004 have thus been confirmed.

In 2003, RHI reported net income after minorities in the amount of EUR 72.9 million (2002: EUR 46.9 million), an improvement by 55.4%. The undiluted earnings per share amounted to EUR 3.65 (2002: EUR 2.35). RHI is presenting the results for 2003 according to IFRS for the first time; the figures for 2002 were also converted to IFRS.

The net income of RHI AG, according to HGB (Austrian Commercial Code), amounted to EUR 35.9 million in 2003 (2002: EUR 35.1 million), the accumulated profit 2003, including profit carried forward from the previous year, amounts to EUR 71.1 million. Due to the high net loss for the year 2001 and the still negative equity of the RHI Group, no dividend will be proposed for 2003 at the Annual General Meeting of RHI AG on May 27, 2004 despite the positive earnings situation.

After the comprehensive capital restructuring 2002, the primary objective is to improve equity in the RHI Group, which is still negative according to IFRS. Equity attributable to the shareholders of RHI AG improved by EUR 43.5 million to EUR -422.7 million in the financial year 2003. Based on the contractual agreements with the banks from the capital restructuring, the financing and liquidity situation for RHI’s global activities has been secured in the long term. RHI is therefore in a position to continue to actively expand its position as the world market and technology leader in the refractories business.

The RHI Annual Report 2003 is available in German language on RHI’s website under at the address for downloading, and also as an online report for the first time at the address
The English print and online version will be available end of April.

With the results for 2003, RHI confirms its sustainable return to the profit zone. EBIT rose by 3.7% to EUR 122.0 million (2002: EUR 117.6 million), the EBIT margin thus amounts to 9.9% (2002: 8.7%). The financial result improved by 35.1% to EUR -30.2 million (2002: EUR -46.5 million). Income taxes were reduced by 26.6% and amounted to EUR -18.8 million (2002: EUR -25.6 million).

RHI substantially reduced interest-bearing liabilities to banks again in 2003; the reduction of debt by EUR 74 million to EUR 297 million means that the company is 1.5 years ahead of the restructuring plan.

RHI reported consolidated sales revenues of EUR 1,232.6 million in 2003 (2002: EUR 1,358.0 million); the decline by 9% is primarily due to the sale of the divisions Engineering in mid-2002 and Waterproofing in 2003. The RHI Group’s concentration on the core business Refractories and the Insulating division has thus been largely completed.

EUR 1,033.6 million (2002: EUR 1,068.1 million) of consolidated sales revenue, i.e. nearly 85%, were accounted for by Refractories under the RHI Refractories brand. The decline in sales revenue on the previous year is exclusively attributable to the significantly changed relation of Euro and US dollar in 2003. Sales volume increased by 2.6%, and adjusted for foreign currency effects, sales revenue also rose by 2.4% to EUR 1,093.6 million. RHI’s core business generated EBIT of EUR 115.9 million in 2003 (2002: EUR 98.9 million) and another improved EBIT margin of 11.2%.

Insulating, under the lead company Heraklith AG, reported sales revenues of EUR 166.9 million (2002: EUR 168.8 million). Portfolio adjustments in the weak markets of Germany and Austria were nearly compensated by good growth in Eastern Europe and other export markets. As a result of cost cuts and the success of the new product line Heradesign, EBIT rose by 69% to EUR 7.1 million (2002: EUR 4.2 million); the EBIT margin amounted to 4.3%.

The earnings outlook for the RHI Group for 2004 is overall positive, provided the world economy is not subjected to renewed recessionary or exchange rate pressures. RHI will fulfill its capital restructuring objectives in the coming year and will continue to spur on the group’s positive development with targeted investments. The order situation in the RHI Group remains good worldwide in the year 2004.