Ahlstrom's Interim report Q1/2007: Growth strategy implementation well underway

Ahlstrom's Interim report Q1/2007: Growth strategy implementation well underway

Ahlstrom Corporation STOCK EXCHANGE RELEASE 27.4.2007
 
Ahlstrom, a leader in high performance fiber-based materials, reports an operating profit of EUR 23.3 million for the first quarter of 2007 (EUR 29.6 million), representing a 5.6% margin (7.1%). Profit before taxes was EUR 20.3 million (EUR 25.1 million). Return on capital employed (ROCE) was 10.0% (12.3%). Net sales amounted to EUR 416.5 million (EUR 414.6 million) and earnings per share (EPS) to EUR 0.29 (EUR 0.41).
 
Excluding non-recurring items, the operating profit for the first quarter of 2007 was EUR 19.6 million (EUR 26.3 million), representing a 4.7% margin (6.3%). Profit before taxes was EUR 16.5 million (EUR 21.8 million) and ROCE 8.4% (11.0%), both excluding non-recurring items.
 
January-March 2007 in brief
 
- Net sales (adjusted for currency effect) grew by 3.4% from the first quarter of 2006.
 
- Operating profit improved by 39% from the last quarter of 2006 due to increased sales volumes and lower fixed costs.
 
- Ahlstrom announced four acquisitions with combined annualized net sales of approximately EUR 300 million.
 
- The defined benefit pension plan in the United Kingdom was closed and the historical deficit was funded by EUR 21 million, impacting Ahlstrom's cash flow.
 
Key figures
 
EUR million
Q1/2007
Q1/2006
2006
Net sales
416.5
414.6
1,599.1
Operating profit
23.3
29.6
96.1
Operating profit excl. non-recurring items
19.6
26.3
87.3
Profit before taxes
20.3
25.1
81.2
Profit before taxes excl. non-recurring items
16.5
21.8
72.5
Profit for the period
13.4
15.8
57.6
Net cash flow from operating activities
-12.0
26.0
119.2
Gearing ratio, %
24.3
30.0
20.3
Return on capital employed (ROCE),%
10.0
12.3
10.4
Return on capital employed (ROCE),% excl. non-recurring items
8.4
11.0
9.5
Cash earnings per share, EUR
-0.26
0.68
2.72
Earnings per share, EUR
0.29
0.41
1.31
Average number of shares
during the period, 1000s
45,918
38,326
43,802
 
 
 
Jukka Moisio, President & CEO, comments Ahlstrom's first quarter:
 
- The acquisitions in the FiberComposites segment will make us the third largest nonwoven roll good supplier in the world and the intended Brazilian joint venture in specialty papers provides strategic access to raw materials and fast growing markets. The next phase of the growth strategy is the integration of acquisitions and starting up of the organic growth investments. These growth actions will gradually start contributing to our financial development in the coming quarters. I am satisfied with the steps taken and the Ahlstrom team will have a full workload ahead with exciting growth and business openings.
 
- We reported a 3% growth in comparable net sales versus Q1/2006 and a 10% return on capital employed for the first quarter. The operating profit margin recovered from the low level we experienced at the end of 2006. However, return on capital employed remained below our long term target as increasing raw material prices continued to put pressure on margins. We continued our work to increase volumes and sales prices while fixed costs declined.
 
Financial information in 2007
 
Ahlstrom Corporation will publish its financial information in 2007 as follows:
Interim report January - June
Wednesday, July 25
Interim report January - September
Friday, October 26 
 
 
This interim report has been prepared in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The report is unaudited.
 
Comparable figures refer to the same period last year unless otherwise stated.
 
 
Helsinki, April 26, 2007
 
Ahlstrom Corporation
Board of Directors
 
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
Anna Ahlberg, Investor Relations Manager, tel. +358 (0)10 888 4718
 
 
A conference call for analysts and investors regarding the first quarter results will be held on Friday, April 27, 2007 at 13.00 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 4, 2007. The number for the replay is + 44 (0) 20 7031 4064, access code: 747430.
 
The presentation material will be available at www.ahlstrom.com > Investors > IR presentations on April 27, 2007 after the interim report has been published.
 
Ahlstrom's stock exchange and press releases can be ordered on www.ahlstrom.com > Media. Releases are delivered by e-mail.
 
 
This report contains certain forward-looking statements that reflect the present views of the company's management. Due to the nature of these statements, they contain uncertainties and risks and are subject to changes in the general economic situation and in the company's business.
 
 
Distribution:
Helsinki Stock Exchange
www.ahlstrom.com
Main media
 
 
Ahlstrom in brief
Ahlstrom is a global leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of high performance fiber-based materials. Nonwovens and specialty papers, made by Ahlstrom, are used in a large variety of everyday products, e.g. in filters, wipes, flooring, labels, and tapes. The company has a strong market position in several business areas in which it operates, built upon the company's unique fiber expertise and innovative approach. Ahlstrom's 5,700 employees serve customers via sales offices and production facilities in more than 20 countries on six continents. In 2006, Ahlstrom's net sales amounted to EUR 1.6 billion. Ahlstrom's share is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. The company website is www.ahlstrom.com.
 
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