AHLSTROM'S PERFORMANCE IMPROVING - MARKET CONDITIONS REMAIN CHALLENGING

AHLSTROM'S PERFORMANCE IMPROVING - MARKET CONDITIONS REMAIN CHALLENGING

Ahlstrom, a leader in high performance fiber-based materials, reports three-month profitability higher than a year earlier. Operating profit amounted to EUR 31.7 million, compared with EUR 24.6 million in January-March 2002, representing a 7.6% margin (5.0%). The figure for the review period includes a capital gain of EUR 4.6 million from asset sales. Net sales amounted to EUR 416.9 million (EUR 491.4 million) with the decline attributable to the divested non-core businesses. Comparable net sales for 2002 were EUR 416.5 million. Earnings per share were EUR 0.41 (EUR 0.39). A major improvement in market conditions is not foreseen due to continuing global economic uncertainty.
 
January-March 2003 in brief
 
  • Operating profit up by 29%, excluding a capital gain, up by 10% compared with Q1/2002
  • Interest-bearing net debt decreased to EUR 337 million due to a strong cash flow and the asset sale (end of 2002: EUR 402 million)
  • Decisions to invest approximately EUR 50 million to increase manufacturing capacity within FiberComposites division
  • Full-year operating profit is expected to be somewhat better than previous year
 
 
Key figures
 
EUR million
Q1/2003
Q1/2002
Q1-Q4/2002
Net sales
416.9
491.4
1,778.0
Operating profit
31.7
24.6
92.4
Profit before extraordinary items and taxes
26.0
20.8
67.9
Net profit
14.9
14.1
55.2
Gearing (%)
45.9
70.6
55.2
Return on capital employed (ROCE) (%)
10.8
8.4
7.5
Earnings per share (Euro)
0.41
0.39
1.42
 
 
Juha Rantanen, President & CEO, says:
 
"First quarter results confirm the positive development track which started more than a year ago. Our improving performance and stronger balance sheet enable us now to start targeting some interesting growth opportunities to strengthen our market positions and to broaden our nonwovens technology base."
 

The full report including tables can be downloaded from the enclosed link.
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