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PCB | April 20, 2006

AT&S buys back own shares

AT&S has decided to resume its share repurchase program to allow shareholders to enjoy a greater share in the company's success.
AT&S has decided to reduce the number of its shares in issue by canceling a proportion of its own shares and resuming its share repurchase program.

"We are now in a strong enough position financially — with gearing of just 10% — to finance all of our expansion projects, including major ones such as the second Shanghai facility, from cash flow or borrowings," explains Chairman of AT&S's Board of Management Harald Sommerer. "So it was time to optimize the balance sheet structure and give investors a greater share in the company's success. We decided on a share repurchase program because the resulting increase in return on equity has a greater long term impact than a special dividend."

One consequence of the reduction in the number of share in issue is that earnings per share and dividends per share rise, which benefits individual shareholders. At the same time AT&S's debt has declined to a level at which risk and earnings can be optimized: "The share repurchase program and cancellation of own shares will make the AT&S share more attractive and our balance sheet more investor friendly," says Investor Relations Director René Berger of the new strategy. "And it will also make our shares potentially more interesting."

AT&S will in any event continue to pursue its growth strategy. Organic growth will be funded from cash flow and, wherever necessary, by borrowings. The option of a capital increase is still available to finance any larger acquisitions. "There should only be a capital increase where there are definite acquisition plans, so that investors know what their money is being used for," Harald Sommerer emphasizes.

AT&S publishes its results for financial 2005/06 at a press conference on May 10, 2006. It is forecasting revenue growth of over 20% for both 2006/07 and 2007/08.

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