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SARTORIUS SALES CLIMB 14.4% FOR FIRST QTR FISCAL 2011.

Sartorius started off fiscal 2011 with double-digit growth rates in order intake, sales revenue and profit. "We are currently seeing dynamic growth fueled by both divisions and all business regions. Compared with the year-earlier quarter, though also slightly below average, we have achieved highly encouraging rates of increase in revenue and profit," said CEO Dr. Joachim Kreuzburg. "Based on our first-quarter results, we confirm our ambitious targets that we have set for the full year of 2011."

Business Development of the Sartorius Group

In the first three months of 2011, Sartorius increased its sales revenue from the year-ago quarter by 14.4% from 150.4 million euros to 172.1 million euros (in constant currencies: +12.6%). In the same period, order intake rose 15.8% from 167.2 million euros to 193.5 million euros (in constant currencies: +13.9%). Sales revenue grew in all business regions, again led by Asia/Pacific. There, sales were up 28.1% to 38.3 million euros. In the regions of Europe and North America, Sartorius expanded its business by 8.9% to 92.0 million euros and by 7.3% to 35.0 million euros, respectively (all regional growth rates given in constant currencies).

The gain in profit was even stronger than in sales revenue: Operating earnings* rose overproportionately again in the first quarter and, at 22.8 million euros, were more than one third higher than the year-earlier quarterly figure of 16.4 million euros (+38.8%). The Group's respective operating EBITA margin improved from 10.9% to 13.3%. Relevant net profit amounted to 10.9 million euros, up from 6.9 million euros in the year-ago quarter. This profit figure is calculated by excluding extraordinary items of +0.3 million euros (Q1 2010: -0.9 million euros) and non-cash amortization of 1.9 million euros (Q1 2010: 1.8 million euros). The corresponding earnings per share were 0.64 euro compared with 0.41 euro in the year-earlier quarter, up 58.3%.

Development of the Divisions

Sartorius Stedim Biotech

The Biotechnology Division, which operates under the name of Sartorius Stedim Biotech (SSB) and contributes a good two-thirds to consolidated sales, increased its revenue after the first three months of business by 10.6% to 110.7 million euros (in constant currencies: +8.9%). Order intake, which was up 16.8%, rose even more strongly to 128.9 million euros (in constant currencies: +15.0%). Single-use products for biopharmaceutical applications, especially filters, were much in demand. Regional analysis showed that the division's sales developed most dynamically in Asia/Pacific, at a rate of 35.1%. In North America, business grew 6.4%; in Europe, 2.9% (all regional growth rates given in constant currencies).

In view of earnings, the Biotechnology Division succeeded again in overproportionately increasing its profit compared with sales revenue. Its operating EBITA improved 20.0% from 14.6 million euros to 17.5 million euros; the division's respective margin was at 15.8%, up from 14.6% in the year-earlier quarter.

Sartorius Mechatronics

While the economy recovered, business for the Mechatronics Division also expanded robustly in the first three months of 2011. Its sales revenue climbed 22.1% to 61.5 million euros (in constant currencies: +19.9%). Order intake likewise rose significantly by 13.8% to 64.6 million euros (in constant currencies: +11.6%). Both of the division's businesses with laboratory instruments and industrial weighing and control equipment, respectively, contributed to this positive development. The regional pattern reveals that the division grew especially strongly in Europe (+21.0%) and in Asia/Pacific (+20.5%); in North America, business increased 10.6% (all regional figures given in constant currencies).

In comparison with the weak year-ago quarter overshadowed by the crisis, the Mechatronics Division nearly tripled its operating earnings (+187.0%). The division achieved an operating EBITA of 5.3 million euros relative to 1.8 million euros in the year-earlier reporting period. Accordingly, its operating EBITA margin substantially rose from 3.7% to 8.6%.

Outlook

Based on the first-quarter results, management confirmed its full-year forecast for 2011. Sartorius expects sales to grow between 6% and 8% in constant currencies for both divisions and thus for the entire Group in the current year. Along with growth in sales, profitability is projected to further increase. Without any currency effects considered, the operating EBITA margin at Group level is forecasted to increase to around 14%. The Biotechnology Division is expected to contribute an operating margin of approximately 17% and the Mechatronics Division a margin of around 8% to this result. Furthermore, management anticipates a significantly positive operating cash flow.

New Syndicated Loan Agreement Signed for a Higher Total Amount

This last Tuesday, Sartorius AG signed a new syndicated loan agreement for 225 million euros with a banking syndicate led by Commerzbank, WestLB and Nord/LB. This agreement is for a five-year term and replaces the facility agreement concluded by Sartorius AG in 2008 for 180 million euros of which 60% is currently being used. As a result, Sartorius has also created the credit facility prerequisites for implementing the company holding structure as planned and has now gained greater leeway for taking further strides in strategic growth. The facility agreement of around 200 million euros for the Sartorius Stedim Biotech subgroup has remained unchanged.

A Profile of Sartorius

The Sartorius Group is a leading international laboratory and process technology provider covering the segments of biotechnology and mechatronics. In 2010, the technology group earned sales revenue of 659.3 million euros. Founded in 1870, the Goettingen-based company currently employs more than 4,500 persons. The major areas of activity in its biotechnology segment focus on filtration, fluid management, fermentation and cell cultivation, purification, and laboratory applications. In the mechatronics segment, the company primarily manufactures equipment and systems featuring weighing, measurement and automation technology for laboratory and industrial applications. Key Sartorius customers are from the pharmaceutical, chemical and food industries and from numerous research and educational institutes of the public sector. Sartorius has its own production facilities in Europe, Asia and America as well as sales subsidiaries and local commercial agencies in more than 110 countries.

For more information, visit http://www.sartorius.com.
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Publication:Biotech Financial Reports
Article Type:Financial report
Date:May 1, 2011
Words:1033
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