SGS - 2004 Year End Results

1/14/2005, 10:10 AM (Source: GlobeNewswire)
With top line growth of 17.6% to CHF 2 885 million, SGS achieved a 30.3% improvement in operating income to CHF 391 million. Net income of CHF 279 million was up 22.9% on the prior year. SGS recorded a third consecutive year of improved performance delivering full year operating margins of 13.6%. The Board of Directors will propose a dividend of CHF 12 per share, an increase of CHF 3 per share from the previous year. The 2005 target of CHF 45 earnings per share is reaffirmed.

Overview

In an improved trading environment, revenues for the Group increased
to CHF 2 885 million, up CHF 467 million over last year in local
currency terms (CHF 431 million on a reported basis).

Strong organic revenue growth was achieved in Minerals, Consumer
Testing, Industrial and Trade Assurance Services with all these
businesses delivering more than 15% growth at constant currencies. In
line with the Group strategy, Life Science Services revenues grew by
80%.

Operating income improved by CHF 99 million or 33.9% to CHF 391
million at constant currencies (CHF 91 million on a reported basis).
Group operating margins improved significantly to 13.6% with Consumer
Testing reaching margins of 18.1%.

Net financial income of CHF 6 million was below that of last year by
CHF 4 million, reflecting the continued global reduction in yields.
The tax rate of 22.5% is at the low end of the range the Group
expects for the medium term.

Net profit before exceptional items increased to CHF 276 million from
CHF 224 million . Exceptionals of CHF 3 million were collected on
discontinued government receivables.

Cash from operations improved to CHF 425 million from CHF 325 million
on the back of the earnings improvement and a reduction in net
working capital of CHF 37 million. This inflow of cash funded
acquisitions of CHF 201 million, net capital expenditure of CHF 187
million and dividends of CHF 69 million. Group net cash decreased to
CHF 438 million at end of the year.


Georges Muller
Chairman

Johan Allegaert
Chief Executive


English version is binding

CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
& INVESTOR RELATIONS
Jean-Luc de Buman
SGS SA
1 place des Alpes
P.O. Box 2152
CH - 1211 Geneva 1
t +41 (0)22 739 93 31
f +41 (0)22 739 98 61
www.sgs.com


The 2004 Year End Results including tables can be downloaded from the
following link:
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