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Bene AG 1st quarter’s results to 30 April 2013

Tuesday 11 June 2013

The Bene Group is currently undergoing a phase of intense change. Having incurred substantial operating losses in financial year 2012/13 and the one-off costs of implementing the restructuring measures it has introduced, the negative effects of this restructuring of operations continued to be a feature of the first quarter of its current financial year (1 February to 30 April 2013).

Business development
Overall revenue in the first quarter fell year-on-year by 8.2% to around EUR 43.8 million (Q1 2012/13: EUR 47.8 million). This is in line with the restructuring concept presented in April 2013, which includes a controlled reduction in revenue by means of changes to sales processes. Order intake as foreseen in the first three months of 2013/14 was lower than the comparable figure for the previous year; this was due to a selective procedure for taking on new orders.

The implementation of the restructuring programme hit key earnings figures. Bene’s EBITDA for the first three months of financial year 2013/14 accordingly showed a loss of around EUR 2.6 million (Q1 2012/13: EUR 2.5 million). EBIT and EBT were also correspondingly negative. The Group’s net debt (cash and cash equivalents less financial liabilities) increased from the figure of EUR 55.1 million reported as at financial year-end on 31 January 2013 to EUR 60.1 million as at the quarterly reporting date. As at 30 April 2013, the Group’s cash and cash equivalents amounted to EUR 15.4 million. The Bene Group is in a position to meet all of its payment obligations and that there is no adverse effect on its operations.

Bene implemented a large number of measures in the first three months to reduce its material and personnel expenses. These formed part of its programme to ensure that it succeeds in turning around its operations. These included a reduction in the Group’s global headcount since the year-end reporting date on 31 January 2013 by 44 employees or 3.2%. Other employees were still serving their notice as at the quarterly reporting date, so that a total reduction of 110 employees is in fact being implemented. In order to hold off the loss of any more staff, holiday and overtime credits are currently being run down so that the personnel capacity matches the requirements of the factory in Waidhofen/Ybbs.

Expansion in Asia continues
Together with a joint-venture partner, it started operations in India in the first quarter and booked its first orders there. The Bene Group’s investment strategy is essentially hampered by the tight financial restrictions prevailing in its current restructuring phase. Capital expenditure for other fixed assets were reduced year-on-year from EUR 2.6 million to EUR 0.7 million in the first quarter of the current financial year.

Outlook
The Bene Group’s Executive Board is confident that it will return the company to the success it enjoyed in previous years. To this end, following an in-depth analysis, it has developed and presented a restructuring concept. This essentially comprises measures to cut costs and improve earnings, rounded off by a refinancing concept agreed with the banks financing the Group. In line with this restructuring concept, Bene is focusing on markets with great potential for growth and on orders generating strong earnings. Against this background, Bene will take a controlled approach to reducing revenue. From today’s perspective, we may assume that operating earnings will improve against the first quarter as a result of the large number of measures related to the quality of pricing and cutting of costs. However, a further fall in EBITDA for the financial year as a whole is foreseen. All forward looking statements relating to the future are subject to the condition that an agreement is reached with the banks financing Bene AG on a long-term viable financing and restructuring concept.

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