Plansee continues to expand its international presence

The 2006/07 fiscal year saw the Plansee Group’s consolidated sales rise by 13 percent, to a total of 971 million euros, and its number of employees increase to 5,550. Record investment of 121 million euros ensured the Group continued its growth around the world, while a range of acquisitions and the establishment of new businesses strengthened the Group’s global presence.

In the last fiscal year, the Plansee Group continued to grow and increased its market share in every business area. Consolidated sales rose by 13 percent to 971 million euros. The largest increases in sales were recorded in Germany, Japan, the USA and Taiwan. Asia now accounts for 29 percent of the Group’s total sales.

Michael Schwarzkopf, chairman of the Plansee Group’s Executive Board, comments: “We benefited from the general upturn in the economy, as did the success of German companies in Asia, most notably in China and India.” There was considerable demand for products in segments including mechanical engineering, electronics, medical technology, the construction industry and power engineering.

By acquiring a new production site in the USA and setting up four sales offices in Mexico, Italy and Spain, the Group has also increased its presence in key markets. It is now made up of 68 companies located across 23 countries.

Schwarzkopf describes the Group’s profits as “satisfactory” and “in line with long-term objectives.” The equity-to-assets ratio amounted to 59 percent of the total balance sheet.

The Group also made record investments of over 121 million euros in production sites, facilities and new products. Major projects included the expansion of the Breitenwang/Reutte plant in Austria, the new hot rolling mill and a recycling facility for hard metal scrap. Production sites in Germany, Spain and Japan were expanded. According to Mr. Schwarzkopf the total area of production plants will increase by around 375,000 square feet in 2007.

Worldwide the Plansee Group will have invested approximately 400 million euros within the three business years 2005/06 to 2007/08. Half of that amount is invested at the Reutte site in Austria.

The number of employees rose by 500 to 5,550. A major emphasis in the last fiscal year was to push the recruiting activities. Michael Schwarzkopf: “The initiative to position the Plansee Group as a globally attractive employer was successfully launched. A range of international staff and management development programs have been introduced to strengthen employees’ long-term commitment to the company, and the ultimate aim is to fill eight out of 10 management positions internally”.

The Group has also drawn up a code of conduct in light of its increasing globalization, which lays down five guiding principles of business conduct at Plansee. The code, which has been translated into 13 languages, has been distributed in brochure format to all staff worldwide.

Outlook for the current fiscal year
The Group achieved further growth in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. However, according to Schwarzkopf, there has been a slowdown in some of the company’s markets, and the condition of the US automotive industry requires a careful review.

Overall, the chairman expects a stable development for the Group in the 2007/08 fiscal year, although he has reiterated the importance of employing strategies to clearly differentiate the Plansee businesses from the competition and managing costs effectively. These strategies are essential for the Group’s long-term growth in the face of rising raw material and energy costs, unpredictable exchange rates, and increasing competition in nearly every business area.

About the Plansee Group
With its three divisions – PLANSEE High Performance Materials, CERATIZIT and PMG – the Plansee Group is one of the world’s leading suppliers of powder metallurgical products and components. Ignoring differing shares of ownership, the Group achieved worldwide sales of over 1.4 billion euros in the 2006/07 fiscal year, and employed a total of 8,800 people. The fiscal year ends on the last day of February.