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Dutch Samas Loss Expands

Monday 26 May 2008

Dutch office-furniture maker Samas Groep NV saw its net loss widen to $60.2 million in fiscal 2007/08, ended March 31, from $48.6 million a year ago, the company said last week.
The loss per share for the past fiscal year thus stood at $1.89. The company attributed its expanded net loss chiefly to negative one-off effects of $34.2 million, resulting from impairment charges, restructuring costs and the sale of real estate.

Operating loss before one-offs, however, shrank to $12.7 million from $24.7 million in fiscal 2006/07. For the second half of 2007/08 Samas booked an operating profit of $4.5 million.

Samas said the reduction of operating loss was the first sign of improvement in its performance, adding the result was higher than it had expected.

Including one-offs, the operating loss in 2007/08 amounted to $46.9 million, and thus was still larger than the previous-year loss, which was $44.4 million.

According to CFO Mark van den Biggelaar, the company turned a positive cash flow in 2007/08 and managed to improve its liquidity over the period. Samas has a good basis to continue that development in 2008/09 and aims at returning to profit in the short term, Van den Biggelaar added.

The company booked net operating cash flow of $9.2 million.

Samas CEO Coen van der Bijl said the situation at the beginning of the new fiscal 2008/09 was more stable. The company thus aims at achieving an EBITDA margin of at least 7.0 percent over the next few years. The margin stood at 1.0 pct in the first half of 2007/08, and was 4.5 pct in the second half.

Samas\' consolidated revenue grew 10.2 pct to $607 million in the whole 2007/08, marking a 13.1 percent rise in the first half of the year and a 7.7 percent increase in the second half. The company said it had registered the highest sales growth for 2007/08 in Germany and eastern Europe, of 19.5 percent, and in Switzerland sales grew 15.3 percent.

Samas is currently exploring options for its future strategy, where the highest priority will be to return to profitability. The company said in this regard it was considering selling its Swiss operations, which account for only 7.0 percent of its total revenue. According to Van den Biggelaar, the company will use the new funds to strengthen its positions on the markets in Germany and the Netherlands.

Samas also announced it would make some changes in its supervisory board and as a first step will accept the resignations of current board members Dolf van den Brink and Fokke van Duyne.

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