At this year's General Meeting of Villeroy & Boch AG Shareholders in Merzig/Saar, the Executive Board was able to report a pleasing trend in the financial year 2000. Prospects for the current financial year were also outlined for the numerous shareholders attending. Despite a distinct deterioration in the construction sector's underlying conditions and increased restraint among consumers for products for the laid table, the company anticipates that the course of growth initiated in 1998, will be continued in 2001.
Sales figures for the financial year 2000 showed a 12.6 % improvement on corresponding figures for the previous financial year. A distinct rise of 41 % was also reported in the result from ordinary operations (EBT). Executive Board Chairman Wendelin von Boch explained the annual financial report for the year 2000 with a positive trend in all four Divisions.
Developments in Group sales were as follows:
tiles +6,4%, bathroom and kitchen +30,1%, tableware +2,8%, wellness +35.8%; total group +12,6%.
A distinct 53 % rise was reported in the Villeroy & Boch Group operating result (EBIT), which increased from Euro 28.2 million in 1999, to a total of Euro 43.3 million in the year 2000. This is equivalent to an EBIT/percentage return on sales of 4.6 %.
During the same period, the EBT improved from Euro 25.8 million to Euro 36.3 million.
During the first months of the year 2001, declining economic activity in the building sector exerted an influence on the Group trend. Germany experienced a decline in building activity of around 10 %. There was also a noticeable reduction in demand for products for the laid table. Villeroy & Boch was nevertheless able to effectively assert its position in this environment.
Compared to the previous financial year, the Group was able to report a 9 % sales increase during the first four months of 2001, bringing the total to Euro 320.3 million. When gains resulting from the newly acquired companies are excluded, Villeroy & Boch was almost able to achieve the sales level reported for the comparable period of the previous financial year.
Owing to the deterioration in underlying economic conditions, which is expected to influence the whole year – in particular, a further decline in building activity –
cost-cutting measures have been introduced. For the year 2001 the Executive Board is not only anticipating improving the sales figures reported for the previous financial year by 4 % to 6 %, but also achieving a generally improved result before taxes on income.
The General Meeting of Shareholders noted the Executive Board information with approval and decided as contemplated by the agenda. In so doing, it also agreed with the proposals made by the Administrative Board regarding use of the Villeroy & Boch AG net retained profit. According to these proposals, shareholders shall receive a dividend of Euro 0.55 per individual preference-share certificate and Euro 0.50 per individual ordinary-share certificate for the year 2000. A tax credit of approximately Euro 0.12 per ordinary share and approximately Euro 0.13 per preference share is linked to the distribution for domestic tax-paying shareholders.