Agfa Offers Business Update: Cash Flows Increase Substantially
Press release from the issuing company
MORTSEL, Belgium (April 30, 2002) - On the occasion of today's Annual General Meeting of shareholders of Agfa-Gevaert N.V. Ludo Verhoeven, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Management, will comment on the developments of the company in the first quarter as follows:
"For Agfa as for numerous other companies, 2001 has been a particularly difficult year and our results clearly reflect this. But I think it is fair to say that we swiftly reacted to the sharp reversal of economic conditions and took the necessary measures to rapidly and lastingly improve profitability. Furthermore, we were able, in spite of the deterioration of our results, to improve our balance sheet structure: working capital and financial debt decreased and our cash flows even increased substantially, compared to the very good previous year.
Since the first days of 2002 the economic spring has been announced over and over again. But when looking at our sales in the first months of the year, we cannot find a convincing recovery yet. Our sales are stabilising, but it is too early to speak of a clear revival. On the other hand, for the results of the first quarter, which will be published 7 May, an improvement of the margins can be expected, especially thanks to the first positive effects of our Horizon plan.
If economic growth picks up in the second half of 2002 - as expected - and taking into account the fact that the positive effects of Horizon will increase gradually, the results of Agfa-Gevaert will clearly improve in the second half of 2002.
Since we were able to book 440 of the estimated 550 million Euros restructuring costs for Horizon in 2001, 110 million Euros are still remaining, which will be charged on 2002. This is still an important amount, but as it is considerably less compared to last year, we are convinced that the net result for 2002 will be positive again."
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