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Electronics Production | August 28, 2009

Cicor reports a loss in 1H/2009

Results for the first half-year 2009 reflect the weak economic situation and the lower demand in Cicor Technologies Group's target markets. The Group's individual divisions were affected to different degrees.
Overall sales were down 26.7% to CHF 80.2 million (first half of 2008: CHF 109.3 million), and the Group posted a loss of CHF -4.6 million for the first six months of 2009 (against a profit of CHF 5.4 million for the prior-year period). The result includes exceptional costs of CHF 1.2 million for restructuring measures in the EMS Division. The numerous cost-reduction measures initiated in the previous year are having a growing impact. Most noticeably, personnel costs were cut by 17%.

The management team is complete again after Roland Küpfer became CEO on 1 August 2009.

A decline in earnings caused by the rapid fall in incoming orders was partially offset by the prompt adjustment of costs to lower business volumes. Net sales fell 26.7% during the period under review to CHF 80.2 million (first half of 2008: CHF 109.3 million). Operating earnings before depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were CHF 1.2 million (previous year CHF 12.7 million).

Operating earnings (EBIT) fell to CHF -3.5 million (same period in previous year: CHF 7.6 million), and overall there was a loss of CHF -4.6 million (against a profit of CHF 5.4 million a year earlier). This includes one-off costs of CHF 1.2 million for the merger of two locations' activities within the EMS Division. At the EBIT level, the PCB and EMS Divisions suffered most, while the ME Division did very well to almost match the previous year's figures. With an equity ratio of 57.8% as at 30 June 2009, Cicor Group's finances are still solid.

Performance of the individual divisions
During the period under review, the PCB Division achieved net sales of CHF 13.9 million (previous year CHF 28.3 million). Operating earnings (EBIT) of CHF -3.8 million were well below the previous year's level (CHF 3.6 million). Results for the first half of 2009, affected by massive economic setbacks in most sales markets, failed to meet expectations.

The steep decline in demand, especially in the automotive, semiconductor, telecommunications and watchmaking industries, led to lower business volumes during the period under review. Measures such as cost reductions, personnel cuts and increased sales activities in all client segments have been initiated. These measures led to improved incoming orders in the second quarter, as well as to market expansion in the medical and defence technology segments.

The ME Division achieved slightly higher net sales of CHF 16.9 million (CHF 16.5 million). Operating earnings (EBIT) of CHF 1.8 million were roughly the same as a year previously (CHF 1.9 million). After a good start to the 2009 financial year, companies in the ME Division started to feel the effects of the global economic crisis. Key projects were postponed, especially in the aerospace and capital goods industries. Marketing and sales activities focus on penetrating new geographical markets with good potential, as well as on winning new major customers in the European and American markets.

During the period under review, the EMS Division achieved net sales of CHF 49.4 million (previous year CHF 64.5 million). Before one-off restructuring costs and exceptional write-offs of CHF 1.2 million caused by the concentration of Swisstronics' activities in Bronschhofen, operating profit (EBIT) came to CHF 0.5 Mio (previous year: CHF 2.9 million). This regrouping and other cost-reduction measures helped to reduce the erosion of earnings noticeably. Further work was also done on making the cost base more flexible and on simplifying processes and structures.

The acquisition of several new customers confirmed that the EMS Division is meeting the needs of the market effectively through its positioning as a comprehensive service provider and thanks to the global presence provided by its own offices.

Outlook
Cicor Technologies expects market conditions to remain difficult beyond the end of the year. For the rest of this year the Board of Directors and Management will focus primarily on more intense cultivation of the markets and on cost management. The optimization measures taken so far have reduced the business's cost base, which will help greatly to increase its operational earnings power.

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