AHLSTROM CORPORATION: FINANCIAL STATEMENTS BULLETIN 2003: STRONG CASH FLOW DESPITE WEAKER PROFITABILITY

AHLSTROM CORPORATION: FINANCIAL STATEMENTS BULLETIN 2003: STRONG CASH FLOW DESPITE WEAKER PROFITABILITY

Comparable figures refer to the same period last year unless otherwise stated

Ahlstrom, a leader in high performance fiber-based materials, reports full-year earnings significantly lower than last year. Operating profit for 2003 was EUR 48.5 million (EUR 92.4 million). Profit before extraordinary items and taxes was EUR 33.7 million (EUR 67.9 million). Net sales amounted to EUR 1,556.4 million (EUR 1,778.0 million). Earnings per share were EUR 0.61 (EUR 1.42). Excluding non-recurring items of EUR -16.9 million, the operating profit for 2003 was EUR 65.4 million and earnings per share EUR 0.91.

2003 in brief
  • Profitability weakened due to soft markets, non-recurring items related to restructuring measures and strengthening of the euro
  • Strong cash flow as a result of working capital reduction and focused investments
  • The largest division, FiberComposites maintained its returns despite a challenging business environment

Key figures
 
EUR million
2003
2002
Q4/2003
Q4/2002
Net sales
1,556.4
1,778.0
365.9
405.3
Operating profit / loss
48.5
92.4
-11.0
21.8
Profit / loss before extraordinary items and taxes
 
 
33.7
 
 
67.9
 
 
-14.5
 
 
18.8
Net profit / loss
22.4
55.2
-4.6
23.8
Net cash flow from operations
 
202.0
 
184.0
 
56.7
 
45.7
Gearing ratio (%)
42.3
55.2
42.3
55.2
Return on capital employed (ROCE) (%)
 
4.6
 
7.5
 
-4.4
 
7.9

Earnings per share (Euro)
 
0.61
 
1.42
 
-0.14
 
0.53

 Juha Rantanen, President & CEO, says:
"Although last year ended up being disappointing in terms of profitability, there are two things to be pleased with, namely a strong cash flow and the stable performance of both the FiberComposites and the LabelPack divisions. Within the Specialties division, we have initiated a number of improvement measures, which also caused us to book restructuring provisions and write-downs. The decline in profitability does not change our long term strategy to continuously focus on performance improvement and to seek suitable growth opportunities within nonwovens, filtration and release liners businesses."
 
Financial information in 2004

Ahlstrom Corporation will publish its Annual Report for 2003 and the internet version of the report in week 12 and Interim Report for Q1 on May 3, 2004.

Helsinki, February 12, 2004

Ahlstrom Corporation
Board of Directors
 
The full report with tables can be downloaded from the following link:
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