– Consolidated revenues up 8.1%
– EBITDA up 46% to EUR 20.5 million
– Consolidated profit after taxes nearly doubles to EUR 5.9 million
– Outlook unchanged for the year as a whole
– EUR 175 million bond issue planned to strengthen Group's long-term financing
Escada AG's positive performance from the past fiscal year has carried on into the first quarter of 2004/2005. The maker of women's luxury fashions was able to increase both revenues and earnings significantly against the comparable period last year, and has reconfirmed its expectations in full for the year as a whole.
– Consolidated revenues climbed 8.1% for the first three months to EUR 160.1 million (Q1 2003/2004: EUR 148.1 million).
– After adjustment for changes in foreign exchange rates, the Group's growth was 10.3%.
– ESCADA brand revenues were up 9.7%, from EUR 100.2 million to EUR 109.9 million. The market continues to find ESCADA Collections as attractive as ever.
– Revenues for the PRIMERA Group (apriori, BiBA, cavita and Laurèl brands) were up 6.6% for the first three months, to EUR 49.8 million (Q1 2003/2004: EUR 46.7 million).
– Consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew 46.4% to EUR 20.5 million, as against EUR 14.0 million for the comparable quarter last year. Thus EBITDA growth was considerably faster than revenue growth.
– Consolidated profit after taxes and minority interests nearly doubled to EUR 5.9 million, compared to EUR 3.1 million.
Said ESCADA AG CEO Wolfgang Ley at the Company's financial press conference today:
“After ESCADA's successful turnaround in 2003/2004, we're off to a good start for the current year. Though the market for women's fashions in the luxury segment is still weak, ESCADA continues to grow profitably. In this, we're benefiting more and more from the leaner Group platform we set up with our restructuring program last fiscal year. Even though the results from the first quarter – which is traditionally strong – cannot simply be extrapolated to the entire year, we're still well on the way to achieving our goals for 2004/2005.”
For all of 2004/2005, management still expects:
– Group revenues in euros will rise;
– EBITDA will increase significantly;
– There will be a disproportionate improvement in consolidated profit after taxes.
As already announced on December 14, 2004, last fiscal year (2003/2004; reporting date October 31) ESCADA achieved turnaround and met its targets in full.
– According to the final financial statements for the year, which are now available, consolidated revenues grew 0.8 %, to EUR 625.5 million (vs. EUR 620.8 million). The increase after adjustment for changes in foreign exchange rates is 3.5 %.
– As a consequence of the Group's restructuring program, that has been systematically implemented, operating costs (the total of personnel expenses and other operating expenses) declined a total of EUR 45.5 million, or 11.3 %, to EUR 356.9 million (vs. EUR 402.4 million).
– Group EBITDA improved from EUR 8.4 million to EUR 47.3 million.
– The Group showed a consolidated profit of EUR 3.8 million after taxes and minority interests, compared to the prior year's loss of EUR -77.7 million, which was largely the consequence of one-time expenses. The new profit is equivalent to undiluted earnings per share of EUR 0.24 (vs. a loss of EUR -10.73 per share).
– With equity up 15.1 million to EUR 88.1 million as of October 31, 2004 (October 31, 2003: EUR 73.0 million) and an economic equity ratio of 20.0 % (October 31, 2003: 20.8 %) the ESCADA Group had solid balance-sheet ratios at the reporting date.
To safeguard the ESCADA Group's long-term financing base, management is planning a bond issue for a projected total of EUR 175 million. The exact timing of the bond issue will depend on the market conditions, and will be announced at a later date together with the other relevant details. The bond is intended to replace existing bank debt and help improve the Group's capital structure in the long run.