DGAP-News: KION Group performs very well in 2008

2009-02-13 / 10:06:00

KION Group performs very well in 2008
despite difficult market environment

  • Order intake slightly down on high level of prior year at EUR4.4 billion
  • Net sales up 5.6 percent to EUR4.6 billion
  • EBIT margin raised once again from 7.6 percent to 7.8 percent of revenue
  • Free cash flow at firm level of EUR292 million
  • Number of employees stable
  • Financial and economic crisis begins to impact during 2nd half of year

Wiesbaden, February 13, 2009 - The KION Group, one of the two leading global manufacturers of forklift trucks and material handling technology and equipment, has reported another set of good results and record revenue for 2008 despite the significant weakening of the market in the second half of the year. The KION Group was able to maintain its share of the global market at just under 17 percent against a backdrop of difficult market conditions. The global market for industrial trucks contracted by 8.3 percent year-on-year in 2008. On Friday, the Company published its preliminary results for 2008.

'2008 was the best year ever for the KION Group in the history of the material handling business, primarily as a result of the exceptionally good business in the first half of the year. In the second half of the year, however, we felt the impact of the global financial and economic crisis as the propensity of our customers to make capital expenditure dropped significantly. Thanks to the tremendous flexibility and dedication of our workforce and the rapid implementation of countermeasures, we have been able to adapt to the changing market conditions and to maintain the year-on-year improvement in results of previous years', emphasized Gordon Riske, CEO of the KION Group. 'The economic downturn that lies ahead of us will demand further efforts and sacrifices in order to mitigate the expected decline in revenue. However, the KION Group and its brands have demonstrated that we have solid foundations and that - with hard work and discipline - we will be able to prosper in the difficult economic times that lie ahead.'

Further increase in revenue and earnings in 2008
Preliminary figures for the order intake indicate a slight year-on-year drop of 4.2 percent to EUR4.399 billion (2007: 4.592 billion). The KION Group's order backlog at December 31, 2008 was approximately EUR647 million.

In 2008, the KION Group was able to increase net revenue (preliminary figure) by 5.6 percent to EUR4.554 billion (2007: EUR4.312 billion). Revenue for the Linde brand rose by just under 4 percent. The brand performed particularly well in China, which, in terms of revenue, is now the third-most important export market for Linde after France and the UK. The fast-growing markets of Brazil and eastern Europe and the domestic German market made a significant contribution to the more than 11 percent revenue growth achieved by . Despite difficult market conditions in Spain and Italy, OM managed to maintain revenue at virtually the same level as the prior year.

The Group improved earnings before interest and tax (EBIT, preliminary) before one-off items by 7.1 percent to EUR353 million (2007: EUR330 million), a higher increase than the increase in revenue. As a result, the EBIT2 margin (adjusted for one-off items) rose once again to 7.8 percent (2007: 7.6 percent).

The preliminary free cash flow remained at a firm level of EUR292 million in 2008 (2007: EUR352 million). The KION Group was able to reduce its net debt slightly on the previous year to EUR2.303 billion (2007: EUR2.368 billion).

Forward-looking HR policy
As at December 31, 2008, the number of employees (including 594 apprentices / trainees) remained stable at 21,168 (2007: 21,086). After adjusting for the acquisition of a STILL dealer in the UK, the number fell by 0.3 percent as the company sought to react promptly to the emerging market downturn. Linde had a workforce of 12,930, 6,752 and OM 1,173.

KION Group - fiscal year 2008 (preliminary results)

EUR million 2008 2007 Change
Order intake 4,399 4,592 - 4.2%
Revenue 4,554 4,312 + 5.6%
Linde Material Handling 2,830 2,726 + 3.8%
STILL 1,579 1,419 + 11.3%
OM 356 358 - 0.6%
EBIT normalized 353 330 + 7.1%
EBIT margin 7.8% 7.6% +0.2 percentage points
Free cash flow
(before interest and tax)
292 352 - 17.0%
(FTE, including apprentices / trainees)
21,168 21,086 + 0.4%

The KION Group expects to publish its final results for 2008 on April 29, 2009.

The Company
The KION Group, with its Linde, STILL, OM, and Baoli brands, is the market leader in material handling products in Europe and the global number two in the industry. The KION Group employed over 21,000 people and generated revenue of around EUR4.6 billion in the 2008 financial year.

For further information please contact

Michael Hauger
Head of Communications and Investor Relations
Tel.: +49 (0) 611.770-655
Email: michael.hauger@kiongroup.com

Frank Kopfinger
Head of Investor Relations
Tel.: +49 (0) 611.770-220
Email: frank.kopfinger@kiongroup.com


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