TAKKT grows its turnover and profit against the economic trend

Cash flow reaches new quarterly record

TAKKT AG has completed a successful first quarter of 2008. Turnover reached a figure of EUR 240.5 (previous year: 254.6) million. This represents organic growth of 3.5 percent (adjusted for the Conney divestment as well as exchange rate fluctuations). The Group was also able to buck the economic trend and achieve a further substantial improvement in its profitability. Cash flow reached a new quarterly record of EUR 27.1 (25.2) million.

“The positive business development is very gratifying, especially against the background of the weakening economy in North America as well as the smaller number of working days in the first quarter,” said Georg Gayer, CEO of TAKKT AG. “This was made possible by the multifaceted diversification of our Group and its stable business model.”

Profitability up again
Despite the negative external effects, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose in the first quarter of 2008 to EUR 37.8 (37.2) million – an increase of 1.6 percent over the previous year. The EBITDA margin rose accordingly from 14.6 to 15.7 percent. Even without the positive structural effect arising from the sale of the lower-margin subsidiary Conney, the EBITDA margin would have risen by 0.7 percentage points.

“This successful result is mainly due to the fact that all TAKKT divisions were able to further optimise their gross profit margins,” said Dr Florian Funck, CFO of TAKKT AG. “With regard to operating profitability we remain optimistic for the financial year. In 2008 we anticipate an EBITDA margin in the upper third of the target corridor which has been raised (RSW: increased) once more to 12 to 15 percent – i.e. 14.0 plus X.”

Profit before tax in the first three months of the year amounted to EUR 32.4 (30.8) million. This was 5.2 percent more than in the same period of last year. The record cash flow of EUR 27.1 (25.2) million represents an increase of 7.5 percent. The margin amounted to 11.3 (9.9) percent of Group turnover.

KAISER + KRAFT EUROPA shows further dynamic growth
KAISER + KRAFT EUROPA, the highest-turnover division of TAKKT Group, grew by 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2008. Turnover rose to EUR 142.5 (133.4) million. This growth is especially remarkable against the background of fewer working days due to the fact that Easter fell in the first quarter. The course of business was particularly successful for the companies in Eastern Europe, Denmark, Portugal as well as Belgium and Austria.

The division's earnings also developed well: EBITDA reached EUR 31.1 (28.4) million. After the first three months of the year the EBITDA margin was 21.8 (21.3) percent. Among other things this was made possible by a further improvement in purchasing conditions.

Topdeq influenced by weakening business climate
The course of Topdeq's business reflected the effects of the anticipated economic slowdown in Europe as well as the smaller number of working days. In the first quarter of 2008 the division recorded a fall in turnover of 9.0 percent to EUR 22.3 (24.5) million. Adjusted for currency effects the decline amounted to 7.3 percent. The companies in Austria and Belgium continued to record good rates of growth despite the present difficult environment.

In the first quarter of 2008 the division was unable to match the earnings development of the previous year. EBITDA fell from EUR 2.4 to 1.7 million – minus 29.2 percent. The EBITDA margin reached 7.6 (9.8) percent. This was due on the one hand to a fall in order numbers and on the other hand to the start-up costs for the expanded mail order centre. These costs will be compensated for by higher revenues when the centre commences operation in the second quarter of 2008. 

K + K America successful despite weak economy
The turnover of K + K America fell as a result of the Conney sale by 10.6 percent from USD 126.7 to 113.3 million. In the reporting currency of euros this was a reduction of 21.7 percent. Adjusted for the Conney sale, K + K America achieved a gratifying turnover increase of 2.1 percent on US dollar basis against the economic trend. This was mainly thanks to the strong diversification of the division.

Due to the effects of exchange rates and the Conney divestment, EBITDA declined to EUR 7.1 (8.5) million. By contrast the margin rose significantly from 8.8 to 9.4 percent. Even adjusted for the positive structural effect of the Conney sale the margin would have improved by 0.2 percentage points.

Telephone conference
We invite you to put your questions to our Management Board in person. For this purpose we are arranging a telephone conference on 29 April 2008 at 3:00 pm (CEST) in which we will respond to your questions. Please dial in on the telephone number +49 30.20 22 31 91.

Short profile of TAKKT
TAKKT is the leading B2B mail order company for office, business and warehouse equipment in Europe and North America. The Group is represented with its brands in more than 25 countries. The product range of the TAKKT subsidiaries comprises over 130,000 items from the areas business and warehouse equipment, classical and design-oriented office furniture and accessories, as well as sales promotion items for retailers, the food service industry and the hotel market.

TAKKT Group employs some 2,000 staff, has about 3 million customers worldwide and distributes more than 70 million catalogues and mailings per year. 

TAKKT AG is listed on the SDAX and was admitted to Deutsche Boerse’s Prime Standard on 1 January 2003.

Figures of TAKKT Group under IFRS for the first quarter of 2008

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Stuttgart, 29 April 2008

Contact:

Georg Gayer, CEO
Phone +49 711 34658-201

Dr Florian Funck, CFO
Phone +49 711 34658-207

E-mail: investor@takkt.de


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