BWT in the first quarter: restrained decline in revenues and income
Sales: € 91.9 million (-7.1%)
EBIT: € 6.6 million (-18.9%)
Net earnings: € 4.3 million (-25.1%)
Operating cash flow: € +1.2 million after € -8.5 million
Gearing: 20.5% after 30.0% a year earlier
Equity ratio: 48.6% after 44.9% a year earlier
“In view of the economic environment, the Best Water Technology Group (BWT) recorded a better first quarter 2009 than expected. The year-on-year revenues decrease was 7.1% while EBIT dropped by 18.9%. Timely implemented cost cutting measures along with an improved gross margin on revenues helped to restrain a decline in income,” says Andreas Weissenbacher, CEO of the BWT Group regarding the first quarter 2009.
In the first three months of the year, consolidated revenues for the BWT Group fell by 7.1% from € 99.0 million to € 91.9 million. In the process there were very different regional trends. The pleasing sales increase in “BWT water+more” coffee machine filters and water dispensers advanced point-of-use revenues by 35.4%. As a result, this unit already generates 5% of consolidated revenues (previous year: 3.4%). The Service business rose by 6.4% in total.
Thanks to an improved gross margin on revenues and to cost cutting measures, a stronger decline of EBIT could be restrained. Consequently, EBIT at € 6.6 million was down by € 1.5 million (18.9%) year-on-year at the end of the first quarter. The Group tax rate rose from 25.8% in the previous year to 28.3%, chiefly a negative result of higher earnings in the France/Benelux segment. Net earnings after minorities amounted to € 4.3 million, down by 25.1% year-on-year (previous year: € 5.7 million). Earnings per share were € 0.24 against € 0.32 in the previous year.
Cash flow from operating activities was significantly optimized in the first quarter of 2009 – at € 1.2 million, it is a distinct improvement on the previous year (€ -8.5 million). Reduced working capital requirements in comparison with the previous year more than compensated the lower cash flow from operating activities. The BWT Group net debt remained low. Net bank balances and interest-bearing financial liabilities decreased by almost € 12.0 million to € 28.8 million compared to March 31 in the previous year and rose by only € 2.9 million compared with year-end 2008 (€ 25.9 million). Thus, gearing amounted to 20.5% in comparison with 30.0% from the same time of the previous year and 18.8% from December 31, 2008. The BWT Group’s equity level remained high at 48.6% of total assets – it amounted to 49% as at December 31 and 44.9% as at March 31, 2008.
To date, intensified economic conditions have impacted the various segments of the BWT Group in numerous different ways. While significant decreases in revenues were recorded in Italy, Spain and Eastern Europe, the Group has so far held its ground in core countries such as Austria, Germany, France, Denmark and Switzerland.
Andreas Weissenbacher: “We are focusing intensely on keeping the negative effects of the economic situation on revenues as low as possible by means of increased cost and cash management, as in the first quarter of 2009. The optimization of the Group structure, which has already been initiated, should generate additional positive effects. The very solid balance sheet with low net debt and a high equity ratio represents a highly valuable security factor in this environment.”
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