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Bene announces 8% rise in 1st quarter’s sales

Thursday 21 June 2012

In the first quarter to 30 April 2012, Bene AG, the Vienna Stock Exchange listed BENE reported continued improvement in the 1st quarter of their year with sales up by 8% to 47.8m Euros. Despite the uncertain economic situation, mainly in Europe, the international office furniture supplier achieved a sales increase with a very good level of incoming orders in the core market Austria as well as a high project activity in Germany and Russia.
Bene regularly generated substantially higher sales in the second half-year than in the first six months of the business year. Against this background, the Bene Group likewise continued the positive development of the past quarters into the first quarter of the current financial year 2012/13. In the first three months of the period under review, sales increased by 8.0 % or EUR 3.5 million to EUR 47.8 million compared to the first quarter of the past year. In Austria, sales improved by 28.2 % to EUR 13.9 million after the first three months of the financial year 2012/13 (Q1 2011/12: EUR 10.9 million). Bene likewise achieved sales increases in Germany (plus 13.9 % to EUR 13.4 million - Q1 2011/12: EUR 11.8 million) and Russia (plus 133.1 % to EUR 7.5 million - Q1 2011/12: EUR 3.2 million). In the UK segment, sales of EUR 3.9 million (Q1 2011/12: EUR 6.9 million) remained below the previous year’s reference value, however reached the average of the last four quarters. This was mainly due to exceptionally high sales from major projects in the first quarter of the last year. After an exceptionally good financial year 2011/12, with sales of EUR 9.0 million, the segment ,Other markets’ started slightly weaker into the new business year (Q1 2011/12: EUR 11.5 million). At the end of February, the newly founded joint venture ,Bene Asia Pacific’ started its business operations and contributed EUR 0.6 million to the ,Other market’ segment’s sales (region Asia/Pacific in Q1 2011/12: EUR 0.2 million).
The sales increase in the markets Austria, Germany and Russia in combination with the high share of in-house production for customer projects resulted in a positive development of earnings in the first quarter of 2012/13. Although the EBT of EUR – 0.6 million was still slightly negative, for the first time in three years, a positive EBIT of EUR 0.3 million was recorded for the first quarter (Q1 2011/12: EUR -1.3 million). In the first quarter of 2012/13, the EBITDA of the Bene Group amounted to EUR 2.5 million and thus was EUR 1.6 million higher than the reference value of the prior year (Q1 2011/12: EUR 0.9 million).

Constant headcount
On the reporting date April 30, 2012, the Bene Group occupied 1,328 employees, 48 more than on April 30, 2011.

Outlook
Against the background of an expected increased project activity in the core markets and the planned growth initiative in Asia, the estimates of the Management Board for the financial year 2012/13 are generally optimistic. Due to the seasonality of incoming orders, for the financial year 2012/13, the Bene Group expects to generate once again higher sales and earnings contributions in the third and fourth quarter of the financial year 2012/13 and thus a negative result is estimated for the first half-year. For the full year 2012/13, however the Management expects once again a substantial growth in sales and earnings and an overall positive result.

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