Hawesko: Business development in the first quarter of 2009 meets expectations

4/29/2009, 10:13 AM (Source: GlobeNewswire)
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* Stable end-consumer business at previous year's level
* Operating result (EBIT) lower than previous year, but above
long-term levels
* Wine business viewed as relatively stable even in times of crisis

Hamburg, 29 April 2009. At today's annual results press conference
in Hamburg, the wine trading group Hawesko Holding AG (HAW DE,
HAWG.DE, DE0006042708) presented its financial statements for 2008
with complete annual accounts as well as its three-month interim
report for 2009 for the period from January to March. In the first
three months of the current fiscal year, Group sales declined by
9.5% to ¤ 73.0 million (same quarter in the previous year: ¤ 80.7
million). As already disclosed, the figure for the comparable
quarter of the previous year includes additional sales of ¤ 2.8
million from the delivery of the 2005 Bordeaux vintage, which was
in strong demand. Sales of ultra-premium wines from Bordeaux and
other wine-growing areas posted a noticeable decline in the quarter
under review. However, the specialist retail (Jacques' Wein-Depot)
and mail order segments - the latter adjusted for the effect of the
delivery of the 2005 Bordeaux vintage in the same quarter of the
previous year - achieved a course of business which was stable to
slightly above that of the previous year. Both of these segments
focus on sales to end consumers. Business in the wholesale segment
was characterised by the worldwide weakness of the secondary market
for older-vintage Bordeaux wines, which is the primary focus of the
French subsidiary company Château Classic - Le Monde des Grands
Bordeaux, as well as by restraint in the catering trades. The
result from operations (EBIT) amounted to ¤ 3.1 million (previous
year: ¤4.6 million), while the consolidated result after taxes and
minority interests amounted to ¤ 1.9 million (previous year: ¤ 2.7
million). Earnings per share amounted to ¤ 0.21, down from ¤ 0.31
in the comparable quarter of the previous year.

The Hawesko management board notes that the figures for the first
quarter of 2009 are within the expected range of its financial
planning, considering that the outstanding performance in the
previous year's quarter is a very high basis for comparison. In
view of the extremely difficult economic situation the management
board expects a decline in sales in 2009 in the mid-single-digit
percentage range (Group sales 2008: ¤ 339 million). It makes no
forecast for the 2009 result, but a clearly positive result as well
as free cash flow significantly in the positive range for the year
overall are expected.

Chief executive officer Alexander Margaritoff stated, "No matter
which indicators or indices, barometers or statistics you use, the
economic situation is desolate. Despite this, our development in
the current fiscal year is not as negative as could have been
expected. In times of crisis, people may give up their glass of
champagne or ultra-premium wine, but not wine as such. We do not
expect to beat the successful 2008 fiscal year - the best in our
company's history - but from today's standpoint we have a good
chance that 2009 could be the second-best year in the history of
the company. As the strongest company in the wine sector, highly
profitable and debt-free, we are in an excellent position in the
market. We can rely on the best exclusive rights available in the
wine business, we have an experienced executive management staff
and a clearly defined and proven strategy which has been based for
the past 45 years on Hanseatic virtues such as long-term
relationships, solidity and transparency, and on customers who
place their trust in the quality of our wines, our service and us
as a company."

The annual report presented for 2008 confirms the previously
announced figures for the reporting period: net Group sales
(excluding VAT) increased by 1.5% to ¤ 338.8 million. Sales in
Germany rose by 4.3% compared to the previous year, while a rise of
only 2% was posted for the German wine market overall in 2008.
Hawesko thus once again gained market share. At ¤ 25.5 million, the
operating result (EBIT) rose by 40% compared to the previous year
(¤ 18.3 million). The non-recurrence of a special tax expenditure
in the previous year meant that the Group result after deductions
for taxes and external interests more than doubled to ¤ 14.6
million (previous year: ¤ 6.7 million). Likewise, earnings per
share rose to ¤ 1.67 (previous year: ¤ 0.76). At 23%, the return on
capital employed (ROCE) for 2008 clearly exceeded the hurdle rate
defined by the management board of 16% (previous year: 16%), while
the free cash flow amounted to ¤ 17.5 million (previous year: ¤
13.6 million). An increase in the dividend to ¤ 1.20 (previous
year: ¤ 1.00) is being proposed to the annual shareholders' meeting
on 15 June 2009.

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). The Group employs 614 people.
Hawesko Holding AG has been ranked as one of the top 6 German
public companies with the best market orientation in a 2009 study
by the international consultancy BBDO and the chair for innovative
brand management of Bremen University, the "Best Marketing Company
Award". The shares of Hawesko Holding AG are listed on the
Hanseatic Stock Exchange in Hamburg as well as in the prime
standard segment of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

# # #

The full annual report for 2008 as well as the three-month report
for 2009 can be found at http://www.hawesko.com, "Investor
Relations" --> "Financial Data" --> "Financial Reports".

Published by:
Hawesko Holding AG
20247 Hamburg
http://www.hawesko.com (Company profile)
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 4496 406
Fax +49 (0)228 4496 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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