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BENE AG
Ansprechpartner: Martina Vomela
Tel.: +43 7442 500 3100
E-Mail: ir@bene.com

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pta20130930024
Half-yearly financial report according to article 125 BörseG

BENE AG: Bene AG releases figures for 2012/13 & interim report for first half of 2013/14


Vienna / Waidhofen an der Ybbs (pta024/30.09.2013/12:35) - Vienna/Waidhofen an der Ybbs, 30 September 2013: Following several quarters in which Bene pursued an aggressive growth strategy - with a significant negative impact on its bottom line - the Bene Group is now undergoing a phase of comprehensive change. After facing substantial operating losses in the financial year 2012/13 (1 February 2012 - 31 January 2013), plus the additional burden to the results of one-off effects of impairments and restructuring measures, the negative effects of restructuring operations continued to be a feature of the first half of its current financial year (1 February 2013 to 31 July 2013). The agreement on restructuring its financing that was reached with the banks at the beginning of the third quarter represented a major milestone on the road to an all-encompassing restructuring and a restoration to health for Austria's market leader.

Today published figures for financial year 2012/13 correspond basically to the preliminary figures presented on April 4, 2013. Although Bene succeeded in raising group sales in financial year 2012/13 by 10.1% to EUR 213.6 million (2011/12: EUR 193.9 million) in a challenging environment for the world's office furniture sector, at the same time the Austrian office furniture specialist had to face an operating loss. One-off effects of impairments and the restructuring measures added to the negative impact on the result. Bene accordingly reported EBIT for the last financial year of EUR -17.2 million (2011/12: EUR 1.7 million) and EBITDA of EUR -8.2 million (2011/12: EUR 10.0 million). Earnings after tax fell correspondingly to EUR -29.0 million (2011/12: EUR -2.4 million). On the balance sheet date 31 January 2013, the Bene Group had 1,387 employees in total worldwide and reported net financial debt of EUR 55.1 million (31 January 2012:
EUR 15.0 million).

Results for HY1 2013/14 burdened by restructuring measures
In line with its restructuring concept presented at the beginning of the year, Bene has switched its focus to markets with high potential for growth. This was the context for Bene's reduction of sales in the first half year of 2013/14, by making changes in the sales process. The reduction in sales is also reflected in the decline in revenues and the results in the first half year of 2013/14 versus the first half year of the previous year. Overall, sales in the first six months of the reporting period were down 18.3% in comparison to the first half of the previous year, falling to EUR 82.3 million. Over the same period, EBIT fell to EUR -13.5 million (HY1 2012/13: EUR -1.1 million) and EBITDA to EUR -8.4 million (HY1 2012/13: EUR 3.2 million). As part of Bene's programme to reduce material and personnel expenses, these figures included a reduction in the Group's global headcount since the year-end reporting date on 31 January 2013 by 135 employees or 9.7%.

Restructuring
Bene has implemented a large number of measures in recent months aimed at ensuring an operational turnaround in addition to financial restructuring. As part of the operative restructuring measures, Bene is focusing specifically on the reduction of material and personnel costs. There was a significant personnel reduction and by year end 2013 the headcount will be about 250 people below the level for the previous year. It has also started to cut back its warehousing capacity, office space and showrooms, and initiated an evaluation process covering all its locations. The heart of the restructuring plan, however, centres on measures that are meant to increase Bene's profitability over the long term. This takes place in consideration of past events, in which major projects that resulted in losses were responsible for the Group's sharp drop in earnings. This is what has led the Bene Group to concentrate on managing its product and project mix and to focus its selling power on those markets that promise potential for high growth.

As part of its financial restructuring activities, Bene signed a restructuring agreement with the financing banks on 29 August 2013 which includes a waiver on the part of the lending banks until 2016. The total package provides for a realignment of the existing credit lines with longer terms, the refinancing of the EUR 40 million bond 2014, and fresh funds amounting to about EUR 14 million.

Outlook
The two remaining quarters of the current financial year will still be dominated by the implementation of the restructuring measures. With this in mind, Bene will be reducing sales. Together with the cost increases arising from the restructuring measures, this is likely to result in the Bene Group achieving total sales of around EUR 175 million and a net loss for financial year 2013/14. This is consistent with the plans, which were also the basis of the restructuring agreement signed with the financing banks.

The annual report 2012/13 and the report on the first half-year of 2013/14 is available on the Internet under Vienna/Waidhofen an der Ybbs, 30 September 2013: Following several quarters in which Bene pursued an aggressive growth strategy - with a significant negative impact on its bottom line - the Bene Group is now undergoing a phase of comprehensive change. After facing substantial operating losses in the financial year 2012/13 (1 February 2012 - 31 January 2013), plus the additional burden to the results of one-off effects of impairments and restructuring measures, the negative effects of restructuring operations continued to be a feature of the first half of its current financial year (1 February 2013 to 31 July 2013). The agreement on restructuring its financing that was reached with the banks at the beginning of the third quarter represented a major milestone on the road to an all-encompassing restructuring and a restoration to health for Austria's market leader.

Today published figures for financial year 2012/13 correspond basically to the preliminary figures presented on April 4, 2013. Although Bene succeeded in raising group sales in financial year 2012/13 by 10.1% to EUR 213.6 million (2011/12: EUR 193.9 million) in a challenging environment for the world's office furniture sector, at the same time the Austrian office furniture specialist had to face an operating loss. One-off effects of impairments and the restructuring measures added to the negative impact on the result. Bene accordingly reported EBIT for the last financial year of EUR -17.2 million (2011/12: EUR 1.7 million) and EBITDA of EUR -8.2 million (2011/12: EUR 10.0 million). Earnings after tax fell correspondingly to EUR -29.0 million (2011/12: EUR -2.4 million). On the balance sheet date 31 January 2013, the Bene Group had 1,387 employees in total worldwide and reported net financial debt of EUR 55.1 million (31 January 2012:
EUR 15.0 million).

Results for HY1 2013/14 burdened by restructuring measures
In line with its restructuring concept presented at the beginning of the year, Bene has switched its focus to markets with high potential for growth. This was the context for Bene's reduction of sales in the first half year of 2013/14, by making changes in the sales process. The reduction in sales is also reflected in the decline in revenues and the results in the first half year of 2013/14 versus the first half year of the previous year. Overall, sales in the first six months of the reporting period were down 18.3% in comparison to the first half of the previous year, falling to EUR 82.3 million. Over the same period, EBIT fell to EUR -13.5 million (HY1 2012/13: EUR -1.1 million) and EBITDA to EUR -8.4 million (HY1 2012/13: EUR 3.2 million). As part of Bene's programme to reduce material and personnel expenses, these figures included a reduction in the Group's global headcount since the year-end reporting date on 31 January 2013 by 135 employees or 9.7%.

Restructuring
Bene has implemented a large number of measures in recent months aimed at ensuring an operational turnaround in addition to financial restructuring. As part of the operative restructuring measures, Bene is focusing specifically on the reduction of material and personnel costs. There was a significant personnel reduction and by year end 2013 the headcount will be about 250 people below the level for the previous year. It has also started to cut back its warehousing capacity, office space and showrooms, and initiated an evaluation process covering all its locations. The heart of the restructuring plan, however, centres on measures that are meant to increase Bene's profitability over the long term. This takes place in consideration of past events, in which major projects that resulted in losses were responsible for the Group's sharp drop in earnings. This is what has led the Bene Group to concentrate on managing its product and project mix and to focus its selling power on those markets that promise potential for high growth.

As part of its financial restructuring activities, Bene signed a restructuring agreement with the financing banks on 29 August 2013 which includes a waiver on the part of the lending banks until 2016. The total package provides for a realignment of the existing credit lines with longer terms, the refinancing of the EUR 40 million bond 2014, and fresh funds amounting to about EUR 14 million.

Outlook
The two remaining quarters of the current financial year will still be dominated by the implementation of the restructuring measures. With this in mind, Bene will be reducing sales. Together with the cost increases arising from the restructuring measures, this is likely to result in the Bene Group achieving total sales of around EUR 175 million and a net loss for financial year 2013/14. This is consistent with the plans, which were also the basis of the restructuring agreement signed with the financing banks.

The annual report 2012/13 and the report on the first half-year of 2013/14 is available on the Internet under http://bene.com/office-furniture/investor-relations-further-reports/

About Bene
The Bene Group, a globally active company with its head office and production facilities in Waidhofen an der Ybbs/Austria, employs 1,252 people at 82 locations in 35 countries around the world (as of 31 July 2013). Bene defines the office as a living space and its concepts, products and services turn this philosophy into reality. Development, design and production along with consulting and sales are united under one roof. In the business year 2012/13, consolidated sales of the Bene Group amounted to EUR 213.6 million. Bene is the market leader in Austria and number three in Europe.

For further details please contact:
Investor Relations: Martina Vomela
Schwarzwiesenstraße 3, 3340 Waidhofen/Ybbs, Tel. +43-7442-500-3100

About Bene
The Bene Group, a globally active company with its head office and production facilities in Waidhofen an der Ybbs/Austria, employs 1,252 people at 82 locations in 35 countries around the world (as of 31 July 2013). Bene defines the office as a living space and its concepts, products and services turn this philosophy into reality. Development, design and production along with consulting and sales are united under one roof. In the business year 2012/13, consolidated sales of the Bene Group amounted to EUR 213.6 million. Bene is the market leader in Austria and number three in Europe.

For further details please contact:
Investor Relations: Martina Vomela
Schwarzwiesenstraße 3, 3340 Waidhofen/Ybbs, Tel. +43-7442-500-3100

web publication: bene.com/office-furniture/investor-relations-further-reports/
publication date: 30.09.2013

(end)
Emitter: BENE AG
Schwarzwiesenstraße 3
3340 Waidhofen an der Ybbs
Austria
Contact Person: Martina Vomela
Phone: +43 7442 500 3100
E-mail: ir@bene.com
Website: www.bene.com
Stock Exchanges: official trade in Vienna
ISIN(s): AT00000BENE6 (share)
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