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Figures for the first half of 2006 – Strong rise in sales and solid results across all divisions


Horgen, August 8, 2006 – The Group received new orders totaling CHF 250.5 million (+44%) in the first half of the current year. Gross revenues reached CHF 224.8 million (+46%). All divisions contributed to driving the solid increase in volumes. Operating profit ran to a very sound CHF 21.9 million (H1 2005: 0.1 million), corresponding to a margin of around 10%. The operating result came in at CHF 17.1 million (H1 2005: 9.6). Factoring out one-off divestment gain of CHF 8.0 million contained in the figure for the first half of 2005, net income from continuing operations increased tenfold. The Group reported a net cash position of CHF 45.8 million mid-year, roughly equal with the end-2005 level. Strong volume growth led to exceptionally high increases in receivables and work in progress.

Efforts to give optics a dominant position within the Schweiter portfolio are reflected in the figures for the first half, with Satisloh accounting for 50% of Group sales despite the fact that all divisions produced strong results on the back of sector growth. 

SSM Textile Machinery reported a 20% increase in orders received and 26% sales growth. The encouraging inflow of new orders from the Indian subcontinent was accompanied by a renewed increase in orders from Turkey and China. The market recovery seen by the air texturing segment and the introduction of a new generation of products for universal winding applications (for natural and artificial fibers) impacted positively on the result. The EBIT margin (the operating result expressed as a % of sales) was in excess of 10%.

Satisloh posted a 30% rise in new orders and 26% sales growth. At more than CHF 130 million, orders received reached a record level. The volume increase and the successful integration of the Loh Group resulted in an operating profit of CHF 11.8 million. The EBIT margin doubled year-on-year to over 10%.

Ismeca Semiconductor recorded a substantial increase in order intake and sales (approx. 140%). At CHF 63.9 million, sales for the first half of 2006 were virtually on a par with the figure for the whole of 2005. Following a significant loss in the corresponding year-back period (-6.6), the division posted an operating result of CHF 5.1 million for the first half of 2006, translating into a margin of 8%. Continued pressure on prices plus unfavorable exchange rates prevented an even higher result.

Outlook
Overall, business in the second half looks set to continue at the same pace as in the first six months. All divisions are reporting a solid order backlog. SSM Textile Machinery and Satisloh will at the very least match the sales levels achieved in the first six months. Ismeca Semiconductor is expecting a weaker second half.



    

 
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