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Esko Continues Strong 2006 Performance

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Press release from the issuing company

Gent (Belgium), August 29, 2006 – Esko, the world leader in packaging pre-production solutions, announces a continued strong business performance during the second quarter of 2006, with consolidated net revenues increasing by 17% compared to the first quarter and by 7.5% compared to the second quarter of last year. For the total first half of 2006, Esko’s consolidated packaging business increased by 15% over the same period in 2005, whereas EBIT has more than quadrupled. In addition to the EBIT increase, the net working capital at the end of the second quarter further decreased compared to Q1 and to last year, contributing to a healthy cash flow situation. Business success across regions and product lines The first half of 2006 saw all regions and product lines continue their solid performance above expectations and above last years’ results. Revenues from the European, North American and Asian markets all grew by around 15% year-over-year. Sales for Esko’s Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI) product line in the second quarter doubled compared to an already strong first quarter, indicating a further strengthening of Esko’s global market share. Compared to the first half of 2005, flexo CtP business increased by 40%, and sales of pre-production software and CAM tables both grew by 20%. “We are very pleased to see our business growth confirmed again in the second quarter of 2006”, comments Carsten Knudsen, President and CEO. “It is clear that buyers, designers and providers of packaging products and services are embracing our approach to offer integrated solutions to the packaging supply chain. The new solutions and products we have introduced earlier this year, at IPEX and many other industry events, have been welcomed with great enthusiasm and have further fueled sales and selling cycles.” Esko’s unique portfolio of graphic and structural design tools, workflow automation software and asset and project management tools, combined with leading flexo platemaking and digital samplemaking, signmaking and short-run converting devices, enables its customers not only to implement significant efficiency improvements and cost savings but also to strengthen their integration and collaboration initiatives towards their business partners. Global recognition for Esko solutions FEFCO, the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers, has teamed up with Esko to introduce a new, updated version of its standards library for the corrugated and solid board packaging industries. The new all-electronic edition has been entirely developed using Esko’s ArtiosCAD software and comes with an innovative visualization tool for 2D and 3D representations, including a folding sequence. Esko received the 2006 PIA/GATF InterTech Technology Award for WebCenter, a key part of the Scope suite of packaging pre-press software. WebCenter is a communication and collaboration platform that allows packaging supply chain partners – from brand owner to retailer – to share files, discuss jobs, track projects, perform approvals, and view animated 3D models of products with their packaging. Arjen Maarleveld joins Esko’s Senior Management team Esko announces the appointment of Arjen Maarleveld as its new Senior Vice-President Packaging Solutions. In this role, Arjen will be responsible for managing and further growing Esko’s packaging business, leading all product management, R&D and global support activities for pre-production software and flexo platemaking. Arjen Maarleveld brings over 20 years of Marketing, Product Management and Business Development expertise in the global IT and Telecommunications industry. He has previously been with leading companies such as Oracle, Apple Computer, Telecom New Zealand, Alcatel and France Telecom Group, and has been working and living in the United States, Hong Kong, New Zealand, France and Belgium. Most recently, Arjen was the interim COO of GS1, a global organization providing supply chain standards to many industries, including Consumer Product Companies. Arjen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Advanced Management Degree from INSEAD, Fontainebleau.




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