Ad-hoc-Announcement § 15 WpHG,
Q1 Report 2005, 12 May 2005

As expected sales and earnings below record quarter the year before - stabilization underway - A reliable forecast for the full fiscal year 2005 is not yet possible.

As expected the unceasingly difficult economic circumstances in Germany and in important foreign markets have caused the period of falling sales to continue in the first quarter of 2005. However negative momentum has already slowed down considerably.

Compared to the previous year’s quarter turnover went down by 17.6 % from EUR 766.7 M to EUR 631.4 M in the first quarter of 2005, while in the fourth quarter of 2004 alone, it had fallen by 25.2 %. The generated gross margin of 10.0 % already shows an evident stabilization compared to the gross margin of 9.5 % which had been achieved in the fourth quarter 2004. Falling sales and margins, accompanied by the fact that we have not been able to optimize cost structures in a rather short period, have resulted in earnings sinking at a higher rate. EBIT shrank from EUR 45.5 M to EUR 12.5 M. Net earnings amounted to EUR 6.8 M versus EUR 27.0 M. Earnings per share reached EUR 0.14 versus EUR 0.56 the year before.
Based on current order flow we assume that we can make second quarter sales to match last year’s quarterly level. However, as cost pressure will first of all continue, earnings will go down compared to last year’s level. As the introduced measures for raising efficiency and optimizing costs to a large extent show their benefits with a certain time lag, the earnings improvement which can be expected from this are likely to become effective rather in the second half of 2005 - focussing specifically on the fourth quarter. In total it remains inconceivable whether an economic recovery and an improvement of consumer confidence will materialize. A precise and reliable forecast for the full fiscal year 2005 is not yet possible. However, provided these important external factors do not improve and given the decline versus the record levels of the first quarter 2004, it will be rather likely that we will not be able to reach last year’s sales and earnings levels. However, after the measures for raising efficiency and optimizing costs have been implemented, we see our company on the right track to further develop our business model successfully, also based upon our long-standing successful partnerships with our clients and with our suppliers. Under these circumstances we are confident for the mid-term to again achieve sales and earnings improvements in a better economic environment.