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Heidelberg Presents Nine-Month Figures: Sales climb by around 8%

Press release from the issuing company

In the first nine months of financial year 2004/2005 (April 1 to December 31, 2004), Heidelberg achieved net sales of Euro 2.23 billion (previous year: Euro 2.07 billion). In the third quarter alone, sales totaled Euro 860 million, making it the best-performing quarter in terms of sales for the current financial year so far (Q2: Euro 769 million, Q1: Euro 602 million). Incoming orders in the period under review stood at Euro 2.73 billion, a good 13 percent up on the same period of the previous year (approx. Euro 2.43 billion). “The growth in the global economy also increased capacity utilization in printshops”, said Bernhard Schreier, CEO of the Company. “We will increase sales in the continuing operations and will attain our year-end objectives as planned.” The operating result of the Heidelberg Group was Euro 69 million in the third quarter (previous year: Euro 38 million), a clear improvement on the results of the previous quarters (Q2: Euro 27 million, Q1: Euro -21 million). In the first nine months overall, the Group recorded a positive operating result of Euro 75 million (previous year: Euro 37 million). “By realigning the Heidelberg Group and applying consistent measures to reduce structural costs, we have succeeded in increasing our operating return on sales to 8 percent within the third quarter,” said Heidelberg’s CFO, Dr. Herbert Meyer. “To strengthen the competitiveness of the Heidelberg Group, we plan to further reduce manufacturing costs, with particular emphasis on personnel costs. Discussions with employee representatives are already underway.” Including the losses of Euro 62 million for the discontinued Digital and Web Systems divisions, the profit after taxes for the Heidelberg Group after nine months was Euro -18 million (previous year: Euro -725 million). “We have succeeded in further improving Heidelberg's financial strength through tight asset management”, said Dr. Meyer. “This is reflected in the free cashflow of Euro 138 million in the third quarter.” As of December 31, 2004, the Heidelberg Group had a workforce of some 18,800 worldwide (previous year: 23,400). This fall is partly due to the deconsolidation of the Digital and Web Systems divisions in the current financial year and the workforce reduction as part of the Company's efficiency-enhancing program. Performance in the Press and Postpress divisions improved In the Press Division, sales rose by approx. 10 percent in the first nine months to Euro 1.94 billion. Incoming orders in the period under review increased by a good 14 percent on the previous year to around Euro 2.4 billion. The operating result in the third quarter alone stood at Euro 61 million (previous year: Euro 24 million), thereby demonstrating the additional earnings potential associated with growing volumes. In the Postpress Division, sales over the nine-month period amounted to Euro 244 million. Incoming orders rose by a good 7 percent to approx. Euro 280 million. Cost-cutting measures enabled this division to achieve a positive operating result of Euro 2 million in the third quarter. In all regions, incoming orders at the end of the nine-month period were up on the previous years - by around 13 percent on average. Outlook for financial year 2004/2005 unchanged In the current financial year 2004/2005, Heidelberg is aiming for an increase in sales of at least 5 percent over the previous year on a comparable basis. The Company is projecting an improvement in earnings over the previous year. Its target is to achieve an operating return on sales, including all special effects, of about 5 percent. Overall, Heidelberg is projecting net profit in at least the mid-double-digit million Euro range. The report on 3rd Quarter 2004/2005 is available at www.heidelberg.com.