Interim report Q1/2006: Net sales grew in the first quarter

Interim report Q1/2006: Net sales grew in the first quarter

Ahlstrom, a leader in high performance fiber-based materials, reports a slightly improved operating profit for the first quarter at EUR 29.6 million (Q1/2005: EUR 28.6 million), representing a 7.1% margin (7.4%). Net sales were EUR 414.6 million (EUR 384.2 million). Return on capital employed (ROCE) was 12.3% (12.1%). Profit before taxes was EUR 25.1 million (EUR 27.0 million).
January - March 2006 in brief
 
- Net sales were EUR 414.6 million and grew by 10.6% compared with the corresponding period last year. Sales volumes grew by 3.6%. Figures are adjusted for the divestment of Kauttua plant's paper machine.
 
- Return on capital employed (ROCE) improved slightly from the corresponding period in 2005 and was 12.3%. Profitability was impacted by the investment standstill at the Turin, Italy plant.
 
- Net cash flow from operating activities improved substantially and amounted to EUR 26.0 million (EUR 11.2 million).
 
- Ahlstrom announced in March a EUR 38 million investment in a new glassfiber tissue plant in Redkino, Tver, Russia.
 
Key figures
 
EUR million
Q1/2006
Q1/2005
2005
Net sales
414.6
384.2
1,552.6
Operating profit
29.6
28.6
117.2
Operating profit excl. non-recurring items
26.3
27.3
99.0
Profit before taxes
25.1
27.0
100.7
Profit for the period
15.8
18.0
62.6
Net cash flow from operating activities
26.0
11.2
126.6
Gearing ratio, %
30.0
60.0
57.7
Return on capital employed (ROCE),%
12.3
12.1
12.4
Cash earnings per share, EUR
0.68
0.31
3.48
Earnings per share, EUR
0.41
0.49
1.71
Average number of shares during the period, 1000s
38,326
36,418
36,418
 

 
Jukka Moisio, President and CEO of Ahlstrom Corporation, says:
 
- Ahlstrom's net sales of continuing operations grew by almost 11% and volumes by 4%. Operating profit improved slightly and ROCE remained at a good level, 12.3%, which is close to the Group's long-term target of minimum of 13%. However, Ahlstrom's EPS was negatively impacted by associated companies' performance and currency hedging losses. Raw material and energy costs remained at a high level, while price increases and cost reductions are aimed to offset their impact on our margins.
 
I consider the first quarter a good achievement. The Ahlstrom team implemented a major capacity expansion in release base papers, worked to integrate three add-on acquisitions in Filtration business area, and decided to invest in a new glassfiber tissue plant in Russia. The successful IPO of Ahlstrom completed our evolution from a closely-held conglomerate to a publicly owned, focused fiber-based materials supplier.
 
For additional information, please contact
 
Jukka Moisio, President and CEO, tel. +358 (0)10 888 4700
Jari Mäntylä, CFO, tel. +358 (0)10 888 4768
 
Press conference on the first quarter results will be held today, April 28, 2006, at 10.00 in Ahlstrom's head office, address Eteläesplanadi 14, 00130 Helsinki. An international conference call for analysts and investors will be held on Friday, April 28, 2006 at 11.30 a.m. Finnish time. To participate in the teleconference, please dial +44 (0) 20 7162 0125 a few minutes before the call. Use the password: Ahlstrom. A replay number is available until May 5, 2006. The number for the replay is + 44 (0) 20 7031 4064, access code: 702863.
 
The presentation material will be available at www.ahlstrom.com  > Investors > IR presentations on April 28, 2006 from 9 a.m. Finnish time.
 
 
The full report including tables can be downloaded from the following link:
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