HBG: finalised results for 2001 in line with previous announcement

15 March 2002 10:47 - Royal BAM Group nv

Rijswijk – HBG, Hollandsche Beton Groep nv, published provisional key figures for 2001 – in connection with the announcement of the proposed offer by Grupo Dragados – on 5 February 2002. The finalised results presented below are broadly in line with those provisional figures.

Result and revenues

HBG’s net profit for 2001 amounted to €110 million [€67 million negative], or €3.10 per share [€1.92 per share negative]. The operating result before exceptional items increased in 2001 to €125 million [€85 million]. Deducting the exceptional result of €18 million [almost entirely as a result of a non-recurring payment of €17 million to the HBG Pension Fund to make up for the funding shortfall resulting from stock exchange movements in 2001] leaves an EBIT figure of €107 million. In the preceding year, EBIT amounted to €51 million negative as a result of non-recurring provisions totalling €154 million. In contrast to preceding years, there was no refund of contributions of the HBG Pension Fund to HBG.

The extraordinary income of €50 million net is made up of the result on the disposal of HBG’s interest in NEM and the book profit on the Ballast Ham Dredging transaction, less the cost of planned restructuring exercises.

Group revenues increased by more than 4 per cent to €5.6 billion [€5.4 billion]. HBG achieved 30% of its revenues in the United Kingdom [2000: 27%], 7% in Ireland [5%], 25% in the Netherlands [28%], 3% in Belgium [4%], 17% in Germany [17%], 8% in the United States [10%] and 10% in the other markets [9%].

Cash flow [defined as net profit plus depreciation] amounted to €206 million [€26 million], or €5.79 [€0.74] per share. After deducting the subordinated loan and long-term debt, the net cash position as at year-end 2001 was €257 million [€200 million].

The cash flow from operating activities [see Annex 3] was slightly down, at €186 million [2000: €200 million], mainly as a result of an increase in the capital invested in property development in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

HBG accounts posted on the Internet

The full annual accounts of HBG – as contained in the annual report to be published in mid-April – have this morning also been posted, in English, on the HBG web site as an appendix to this press release. The consolidated accounts have also been included in the offer document prepared by Dragados, which will be available as from Monday, 18 March 2002.

Prospects

As at year-end 2001, HBG had an order book of €6.2 billion [€5.9 billion], forming an excellent basis for successful performance in 2002 and ensuing years. HBG is forecasting – barring unforeseen circumstances – an EBIT margin of around €160 million for 2002, which is in line with the previously announced expectation for 2003 to achieve an EBIT margin of at least € 200 million. In the absence of extraordinary income and expenses, the net profit in 2002 is expected to be around €95 million.

Appeal against Court decision

On 21 January 2002 the Enterprise Section of the Appeal Court at Amsterdam found that it was reasonable for the HBG management to have arrived at the decision which it did, but that HBG should have consulted shareholders in advance. HBG is to institute appeal proceedings in the Supreme Court of the Netherlands against the decision of the Enterprise Section of the Appeal Court.

Informative shareholders' meeting

HBG is convening an informative shareholders' meeting to be held at the HBG head office, Generaal Spoorlaan 489, Rijswijk, at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, 2 April 2002. At this meeting, the Supervisory Board and the Board of Management will explain why the offer from Grupo Dragados has their wholehearted support. The written document presenting the arguments to shareholders will be available as from 25 March.

Revenues and EBIT by sector

The operating result [EBIT] achieved in the construction and property sector amounted to €10 million [€46 million negative, including an addition of €44 million to provisions]. The result of HBG Construction, in the United Kingdom, developed well. HBG Bouw en Vastgoed, in the Netherlands, achieved a good result. In both countries, there was a high profit contribution from property activities. The net result of HBG Bau, in Germany, was negative, although two of the three subsidiaries [Wayss & Freytag Schlüsselfertigbau and Müller-Altvatter] posted positive results. Raulf, however, was obliged to make provisions in the fourth quarter for a number of setbacks on projects in Berlin. This resulted in the closure of the Berlin office and further reorganisation. Revenues rose to €2.5 billion [€2.4 billion], corresponding to 45 per cent [45 per cent] of Group turnover. The order book fell by 9 per cent to just over €2.3 billion, partly because of a general market slowdown. On the strength of expectations that all group companies will contribute to profits, the prospects for this sector are encouraging.

The combined operating result [EBIT] of the group companies active in the civil engineering sector amounted to €82 million [€37 million negative, including a provision of €61 million]. As in preceding years, Nuttall [United Kingdom] and Ascon [Ireland] made excellent profit contributions. HBG Civiel [Netherlands and Belgium] also made a good profit contribution. Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau [Germany] succeeded in closing the year with a modest profit. Interbeton's result was a limited profit. Disappointing results for HBG Constructors [USA] meant a small loss in the American market. Revenues achieved by the civil engineering activities rose to €2.5 billion, or 44 per cent [43 per cent] of Group turnover. The prospects in the civil engineering sector are positive.

HBG operates in the dredging sector through Ballast Ham Dredging, in which HBG has a two-thirds interest. For the profit and loss account, HBG has used the HAM figures for the period prior to 14 November and two-thirds of the BHD figures in the ensuing period. HBG is reporting revenues of €480 million for the dredging sector in 2001 [2000 for HAM: €411 million] with an operating result [EBIT] of €37 million [2000 for HAM: €57 million, partly accounted for by the completion of several major projects]. The prospects for this sector remain good.

In the consultancy and engineering sector, Tebodin achieved revenues of €141 million [€133 million]. The operating result [EBIT], at €8 million, was on a par with the figure for the preceding year. Tebodin expects to see growth in both turnover and results in 2002.