RHI confirms positive growth and earnings trends (ad hoc)

03. November 2004

The RHI Group’s good development of the first half continued in the third quarter of 2004. RHI Refractories (Refractories division) confirmed the EBIT margin of 11.2%; Heraklith (Insulating) showed a clearly improved EBIT margin of 9.7% in the quarter under review, which reflects the successful completion of restructuring.

The two divisions also improved their operating results both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year, and the EBIT margin in the RHI Group amounted to a positive 9.3% (previous year: 9.0%). Overall, the RHI group reported sales revenues in the amount of € 958.8 million (previous year: € 920.7 million) in the first three quarters of 2004, up 4.1%. The growth recorded at RHI Refractories and Heraklith is not fully visible because € 21.7 million of sales revenue was deconsolidated due to the sale of the waterproofing activities in the previous year. On a comparable basis, consolidated sales revenue was up 6.7%.

RHI Refractoriescontributed € 818.6 million (previous year: € 771.4 million) to consolidated sales revenue, an increase by 6.1% or, adjusted for currency effects, by 9.3%. EBIT amounted to € 91.4 million (previous year: € 87.0 million) and an EBIT margin of 11.2%. The negative impacts of the US dollar/euro exchange rate, which has deteriorated by approx. 9% compared to last year, and of higher raw material and shipping costs on sales revenue and EBIT were thus successfully compensated.

Heraklith increased sales revenue by 10% to € 136.4 million (previous year: € 123.9 million); EBIT developed positive and achieved € 7.6 million (previous year: € 4.2 million).

RHI continued the positive earnings development in 2004. EBITDA amounted to € 124.8 million (previous year: € 120.0 million), and, at € 88.8 million (previous year: € 83.1 million), EBIT exceeded the figure of the previous year by 6.9%. As a result of the better EBIT and an improved financial result, net income before income taxes rose by 22.5% to € 64.3 million (previous year: € 52.5 million).

In comparison, the group’s net income increased more slowly by 6.9% to € 37.0 million (previous year: € 34.6 million), after the effects of the Austrian tax reform 2004, and thus one-off, non-cash-effective deferred tax assets amounting to € -11.3 million already affected the half-year result. Without this effect, net income would have increased by 40%.

The overall positive trends for sales volume and sales revenue of the first three quarters should be confirmed in the remaining months of 2004. The global framework conditions for RHI Refractories, which are essentially determined by the major client industries and raw material markets, are not likely to change substantially in early 2005, with further price increases in raw materials and energy to be expected. The level of incoming orders remains good. The outlook for Heraklith is characterized by the positive development in Eastern Europe and a persisting weak market environment in Western Europe. The order situation at Heraklith remains good. Overall the earnings outlook for 2004 is positive. RHI expects a similarly good operating result as in the previous year.