Waidhofen an der Ybbs (pta010/17.09.2015/08:00) - Vienna/Waidhofen an der Ybbs, 17 September 2015: In the six months to 31 July 2015 Vienna-listed Bene AG completed its financial restructuring under the Group's rehabilitation plan and reported improvements in all key earnings indicators. However, the market remained highly competitive, and revenue was also affected by political upheaval as well as the fall in the rouble and declining oil prices.
Especially in its core Austrian and German markets Bene recorded a drop in revenue owing to intense competition, the resulting downward pressure on prices, and critical media coverage of the Group's financial situation over the past few months. Encouraging signals from many customers in recent weeks mean that Bene expects to post solid performance in these markets, despite continuing to face a hard-fought trading environment characterised by predatory competition and significant pressure on prices. Revenue also fell sharply year on year in Russia and Eastern Europe in the first half due to a combination of the crisis in Ukraine and the weak rouble. The development of revenue in the Middle East and Africa slowed as a result of falling oil prices and a related significant drop in companies' willingness to invest. The Group reported slight increases in revenue in the UK and certain West European markets. Revenue rose by around 4% to EUR 76.6 million (m) in the first six months of 2015/16 thanks to the contribution of the large-scale ADNOC project. However, adjusted for the ADNOC project, revenue from core business activities fell by EUR 9.8m or some 13%. During the first half, Group earnings were impacted by impairments of trade receivables, as well as expenses associated with the restructuring programme and reductions in the workforce and consulting costs incurred in the course of the restructuring process. EBITDA improved to EUR -0.2m, EBIT to EUR -3.0m and earnings before tax to EUR -3.5m. The Bene Group had 920 employees worldwide as at 31 July 2015 (31 Jan. 2015: 1,048).
Solid financial and capital structure
The capital increase of EUR 18.0m (less costs of EUR 196,000), which was entered in the register of companies on 14 July 2015, resulted in a rise in consolidated equity. Prior to the capital increase, the share capital had been reduced by EUR 22,399,564, from EUR 24,347,352 to EUR 1,947,788, and two new shares issued for every 25 existing shares. Debt declined to EUR 65.4m as a result of repayments of EUR 15.1m made under the terms of the restructuring agreement. The waiver of borrowings of EUR 35.4m has not yet been recognised in the financial statements, as a primary security in favour of HYPO NOE Gruppe Bank AG had not been registered as at 31 July 2015. Equity of EUR 10.8m and a positive equity ratio of 12.3% are reported on a pro forma consolidated statement of financial position as at 31 July 2015. This solid financial and capital structure will lay the foundations for continued solid operating performance.
Although it should be assumed that the difficult economic and political conditions will persist in some markets, in light of the results for the first half of 2015/16 Management stands by its goal of achieving positive EBITDA for the financial year as a whole. Revenue is likely to decline substantially compared with the 2014/15 financial year, and is expected to reach EUR 140m in the years to come, with an EBITDA margin of around 6%.
The interim management statement for the first half of 2015/16 is available for download at http://bene.com//en/bene-services/investor-relations/reports/ .
Bene is a leading international specialist in the design and furnishing of inspiring office and working environments. Bene defines the office as a living space and its concepts, products and services turn this philosophy into reality. It combines a tradition of quality stretching back 225 years with innovation and award-winning design. The corporate group is listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange, has its head office and production facilities in Waidhofen an der Ybbs, Austria, and is active in more than 40 countries. As a full-service provider, Bene implements forward-looking office concepts that contribute to the commercial success of its customers.
web publication: bene.com/en/bene-services/investor-relations/reports/
publication date: 17.09.2015