Sartorius presents the preliminary figures for fiscal 2003


The Sartorius Group increased its earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) in fiscal 2003 by 8.6% to 14.7 million euros (previous year: 13.5 million). EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) amounts to 37.7 million euros and rose by 3.9% over the year-earlier figure of 36.3 million euros. The result includes negative one-off effects of approx. 5 million euros due to the restructuring measures taken and approx. 3 million euros due to the insolvency of our minority stake Diessel GmbH & Co. KG. Thus, Sartorius reaches a better result than forecasted in the nine-month interim report 2003.

The Sartorius Group sales revenue declined by 7.2% to 442.3 million euros (previous year: 476.5 million euros) in particular as a result of the impact of the foreign exchange rates. The Biotechnology Division posted a 10.7% drop in sales revenue to 227.3 million euros from 254.6 million euros the year before. Sales revenue of the Mechatronics Division slipped 3.1% to 215.1 million euros from 221.9 million euros a year ago. Adjusted for the impact of foreign exchange rates, the Group sales revenue (469.9 millions euros) could nearly reach the year-earlier sales revenue. Considering the two extraordinary fermentation projects last year with a volume of approx. 25 million euros, both divisions showed operational growth. For the Group, this growth was approx. 4%. The respective growth of the Biotechnology Division was approx. 5.5%; that of the Mechatronics Division, approx. 2.5% compared to previous year.

In fiscal 2003, the net cash flow significantly increased to 33.9 million euros (previous year: 0.6 million euros) and was primarily used to reduce the net debt by 21.1% from 133.1 million euros to 105.0 million euros (reporting date of December 31, 2002, compared with December 31, 2003).

Spokesman of the Executive Board and Group CEO, Dr. Joachim Kreuzburg, recognizes the increase of results in the fourth quarter as confirmation of the pursued consolidation drive in 2003. "The positive trend of results shows, that our program for increasing profitability is taking effect. Nevertheless, the results do not satisfy us overall. Therefore, we will work with emphasis on improving our cost structure, launching innovative products and fortifying our sales power."

For the fiscal 2004, the Sartorius Group is striving to achieve a sales revenue growth in the middle to higher one-digit percentage. After taking important consolidation action in 2003, we expect a significant increase in results for 2004.

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