AHLSTROM CORPORATION'S INTERIM REPORT FOR JANUARY-JUNE, 2003

AHLSTROM CORPORATION'S INTERIM REPORT FOR JANUARY-JUNE, 2003

DIFFICULT MARKET SITUATION CONTINUED
 
Ahlstrom, a leader in high performance fiber-based materials, reports a second quarter result declining on the previous year. Operating profit was EUR 16.5 million, compared with EUR 26.5 million a year earlier, representing a 4.2% margin (5.5%). Operating profit in January-June amounted to EUR 48.2 million (1-6/2002: EUR 51.0 million).The figure for the first half of 2003 includes a capital gain of EUR 4.6 million from asset sales.
 
Second quarter net sales amounted to EUR 396.5 million, against EUR 484.6 million for the same period in 2002. Net sales in January-June totaled EUR 813.4 million (EUR 975.9 million) with the decline mainly attributable to the divested businesses in 2002. Ahlstrom's business environment is expected to remain uncertain in the near future.
 
Comparable figures refer to the same period last year unless otherwise stated
 
January-June 2003 in brief
 
* Weak second quarter result due to low demand, increased raw material prices, affect of USD exchange rate and strikes at the French plants in April
 
* Cash flow from operations remained healthy bringing the net debt down to EUR 323.8 million (end of December 2002: EUR 401.5 million)
 
* The largest division, FiberComposites, improved its result compared with last year
 
* Full-year operating profit estimate revised to be approximately on the same level as in 2002

Key figures               
EUR million
4-6/2003
4-6/2002
1-6/2003
1-6/2002
2002
Net sales
396.5
484.6
813.4
975.9
1,778.0
Operating profit
16.5
26.5
48.2
51.0
92.4
Profit before extraordinary items and taxes
 
13.4
 
15.7
 
39.4
 
36.5

67.9
Net profit
6.5
12.8
21.3
26.9
55.2
Gearing (%)
45.1
66.9
45.1
66.9
55.2
Return on capital employed (ROCE),%
 
6.2
 
6.8
 
8.5
 
7.7
 
7.5
Earnings per share (Euro)
 
0.18
 
0.35
 
0.59
 
0.74
 
1.42
                                                                       
Juha Rantanen, President & CEO, says:

"The adverse external environment with weak demand, increased raw material prices,  and a strong euro had a negative impact on our second quarter performance. Despite this, we continue focusing on our main strategy of performance improvement and tight working capital management. We are also seeking attractive growth opportunities in line with our strategy."
 
 
Helsinki, 30 July, 2003
Ahlstrom Corporation
Board of Directors
 

For additional information, please contact: Bjarne Mitts, CFO, tel. +358 (0)10 888 4760.
 
 
The full report with tables can be downloaded from the following link:
 
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