Hawesko posts outstanding result for 2008

1/30/2009, 7:58 AM (Source: GlobeNewswire)
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* Sales at ¤ 339 million (+1.5 %), EBIT approx. ¤ 25 million (an
increase of more than 35%), net result more than doubled
* Free cash flow higher than planned
* Outlook positive despite the recession

Hamburg, 30 January 2009. The wine trading group Hawesko Holding AG
(HAW, HAWG.DE, DE0006042708) published its preliminary results for
the fiscal year just completed (1 January - 31 December 2008)
today. The Group increased its net sales in 2008 from ¤ 333.7
million to ¤ 338.8 million, corresponding to a rise of 1.5%. Sales
in Germany rose by 4.3% compared to the previous year; in contrast,
foreign sales of premium older-vintage Bordeaux wines declined
after a strong upward trend in 2007. In 2008 the German wine market
overall grew in terms of value by only 2.2%, according to the
German Wine Institute. Thus, Hawesko has once again increased its
share of the market. According to preliminary calculations, the
consolidated result of operations (EBIT) amounts to approximately
¤ 25 million (previous year: ¤ 18.3 million) which is well within
the expected range. The financial result will amount to a net
expenditure of ¤ 3.2 million (previous year: ¤ -2.6 million) as
planned. According to preliminary calculations, the rate of tax
expenditures will be 34%, so that consolidated earnings after
deductions for taxes and minority interests is currently
anticipated to be approximately ¤ 14 million or ¤ 1.60 per share
(previous year: ¤ 6.7 million or ¤ 0.76 per share). Free cash flow
is expected to exceed the previous estimate of ¤ 14 million by ¤ 2
million to ¤ 3 million. Against the background of these preliminary
figures, the Hawesko management board sees the economic basis to
propose a dividend payout at least in the same amount as the
previous year (¤ 1.00 per share) to the supervisory board. The
consolidated accounts of the Hawesko Group will be audited in March
2009 and presented to the supervisory board for review.

For the fourth quarter of the recently concluded fiscal year (1
October to 31 December 2008), the Group achieved sales of
¤ 111.3 million, a decrease of 4.6% compared to the corresponding
quarter in the previous year (¤ 116.7 million). Sales achieved in
Germany in the fourth quarter were at the same level as in the
previous year; outside of Germany, on the other hand, the demand
for older Bordeaux vintages declined significantly. The Group's
EBIT amounted to about ¤ 13 million in the final quarter of 2008,
compared to ¤ 13.2 million in the same quarter of the previous
year. The stationary specialist retail segment
(Jacques' Wein-Depot) increased its sales in the fourth quarter by
4.4% to ¤ 37.3 million; on a like-for-like basis sales grew by
3.6%. At the end of fiscal year 2008, there were 271 stores (end of
the previous year: 269). During the course of the year, five new
stores were opened. As part of the ongoing adaptation of the
network to the customer base, three depots were closed and three
moved to new locations. In the fourth quarter, the mail order
segment achieved sales at the level of the comparable period in the
previous year, ¤ 32.9 million (previous year: ¤ 33.2 million).
Despite the increasing threat of recession, the business volume of
the successful 2007 holiday quarter was achieved once again. In the
wholesale segment, fourth-quarter sales amounted to ¤ 41.1 million,
corresponding to a decline of 13.8% compared to the previous year.
This was due primarily to the worldwide weakness in the secondary
market for older-vintage Bordeaux wines, which is the focus of the
French subsidiary Château Classic Le Monde des Grands Bordeaux,
especially in the Asian markets.

Alexander Margaritoff, chief executive officer of Hawesko, stated:
"After we had dealt with extensive non-recurring charges and
considerable investments in new customer acquisition in 2007, we
accomplished a major step forward in 2008. Our business has
continued to grow; we have increased the result from operations by
more than 35%, at least doubled the net result and achieved the
highest level of profit in the company's history. The continuous
improvements made in recent years are bearing abundant fruit, for
we are now operating even more efficiently than before. The pundits
are expecting a severe recession in fiscal year 2009. Things will
become more difficult for Hawesko as well, especially in the first
six months with the previous year as a challenging basis for
comparison. Despite this, we believe that many consumers consider
the enjoyment of wine an indispensable pleasure even in difficult
economic times, so that wine consumption will remain relatively
stable during the year overall. Of course, the current economic
developments will not bypass us entirely, but we won't experience a
disastrous slump. After all, we've already met challenging economic
conditions in the past as well."

Hawesko Holding AG is a leading supplier of premium wines and
champagnes. In fiscal year 2008 the Group achieved sales of ¤ 339
million through its three sales channels - specialist wine retail
(Jacques' Wein-Depot), wholesale (Wein Wolf and
CWD Champagner- und Wein-Distributionsgesellschaft) and mail order
(in particular Hanseatisches Wein- und Sekt-Kontor), and employed
610 people.

# # #

Hawesko Holding AG
Postfach 20 15 52
20205 Hamburg, Germany

http://www.hawesko.com (Company information)
http://www.hawesko.de (Online shop)
http://www.jacques.de (Locations of and information about Jacques'

Vera Maria Bau, VMB Consulting
Phone: +49 (0)228 44 96 406
Fax +49 (0)228 44 96 9406
e-mail: vmb@veramariabau-pr.de

Investor Relations:
Thomas Hutchinson, Hawesko Holding AG
Phone: +49 (0)40 30 39 21 00
Fax +49 (0)40 30 39 21 05
e-mail: ir@hawesko.com

--- End of Message ---

Postfach 201552 Hamburg Germany

WKN: 604270;
ISIN: DE0006042708; Index: CDAX, Prime All Share, SDAX, CLASSIC All
Share, GEX;
Listed: Prime Standard in Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, Freiverkehr in
Börse Berlin,
Freiverkehr in Bayerische Börse München, Freiverkehr in Börse
Freiverkehr in Börse Stuttgart, Freiverkehr in Niedersächsische Börse
zu Hannover,
Regulierter Markt in Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, Regulierter Markt
in Hanseatische Wertpapierbörse zu Hamburg;
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