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24.03.2015 – 07:38

Lenzing AG

EANS-Adhoc: Lenzing AG
Operating Results in 2014 Exceed Expectations, Higher Cost-Saving Targets Achieved

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annual result/Company Information

- Dividend proposal: EUR 1.00 per share
- Record sales volumes against the backdrop of declining fiber selling prices
- Countermeasures have a positive impact and improve operating results
Ongoing strong demand enabled Lenzing to achieve a new record sales volume of
960,000 tons (+ 8%) in the 2014 financial year against the backdrop of a further
drop in fiber selling prices and a very challenging market environment once
again. Operating results could be substantially improved thanks to the
implementation of the excelLENZ program and its subsequent intensification. The
Management Board will propose to the Annual Shareholders' Meeting that a
dividend of EUR 1.00 per share (2013: EUR 1.75 per share) be distributed to
shareholders for the 2014 financial year.
In the 2014 financial year, consolidated revenue fell slightly by 2.3% to EUR
1.86 bn from EUR 1.91 bn in the previous year. The main reasons for this
development were the sale of the Business Unit Plastics in the course of 2013 as
well as the average fiber selling prices of the Lenzing Group, which once again
fell by about 8% during the year under review to EUR 1.57 per kilogram. On a
like-for-like basis of continuing operations, consolidated revenue remained at a
constant level (up 0.3% from EUR 1,859.0 mn in 2013 to EUR 1,864.2 in 2014).
Countermeasures have a positive impact
In spite of the low prevailing selling prices, Lenzing generated a significant
improvement in its operating results. EBITDA[1](earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation and amortization) of the Lenzing Group rose by 24.0% from the
challenging 2013 financial year from EUR 193.9 mn to EUR 240.3 mn. The EBITDA
margin[2]climbed to 12.9% (2013: 10.4%). This substantial rise in earnings can
be attributed to massive cost savings achieved within the context of the
excelLENZ progam, improvements in the product mix and the new TENCEL® fiber
production plant in Lenzing accompanied by an overall leaner organizational
"Our cost reduction program led to savings far in excess of EUR 100 mn in 2014",
says Peter Untersperger, Chief Executive Officer of the Lenzing Group. "We will
generate structural and sustainable savings of about EUR 160 mn p.a. by 2016,
about double the amount as originally budgeted. The operating results in 2014
show that Lenzing is well on track to assume cost leadership in the man-made
cellulose fiber industry again".
About one quarter of the cost reductions involved personnel expenses, with
remaining cost decreases equally relating to reductions in material costs and
operating efficiency improvements as well as cost reductions in general
administrative expenses. 
Value adjustments negatively affect EBIT and annual result 
Due to the changed medium-term viscose fiber selling price expectations, write-
offs in the valuation of goodwill, property, plant and equipment and other
intangible assets was carried out for the subsidiaries PT. South Pacific Viscose
(Indonesia) and Lenzing Nanjing Fibers (China) to the amount of EUR 94.0 mn.
Accordingly, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell to EUR 21.9 mn from
the prior-year EBIT of EUR 58.6 mn. As a result of these non-recurring non-cash
effects, the Lenzing Group reported a net loss of EUR 14.2 mn in 2014. 
Market environment requires further countermeasures
"We also do not anticipate any far-reaching price recovery in 2015", says Robert
van de Kerkhof, Chief Commercial Officer of the Lenzing Group. "The massive drop
in oil prices put downward pressure on polyester prices, which in turn
additionally burdened viscose fiber prices. This was accompanied by cotton
inventories bursting at the seams and ongoing surplus production capacities of
China's viscose fiber industry. In addition to cost optimization measures, we
will focus more intensively on promoting our high quality specialty fibers, in
particular TENCEL® and Lenzing Modal®," he adds.  
By leveraging the price premiums of TENCEL® and Lenzing Modal® compared to
standard viscose fibers and due to currency effects, Lenzing fiber selling
prices rose once again in the fourth quarter of 2014 for the first time compared
to previous quarterly periods. The successful ramp-up of the TENCEL® jumbo fiber
production plant at the Lenzing site in Upper Austria in the second half of 2014
made a major contribution to this development. The new TENCEL® fiber plant with
an annual capacity of 67,000 tons is the world's largest and most
technologically advanced of its kind, and secures 140 top quality jobs at the
Lenzing site.   
Reduction in net financial debt
"On the basis of active cash management, we succeeded in reducing the net
financial debt in 2014 to EUR 449.5 mn from EUR 504.7 mn at the end of 2013.
Lenzing can point to a very healthy balance sheet, featuring a net gearing of
42.2% and an adjusted equity ratio of 44.9%", says Chief Financial Officer
Thomas Riegler, commenting on the consolidated financial statements for 2014.
Investments in intangible assets, property, plant and equipment (cash CAPEX)
were significantly cut back in the 2014 financial year to EUR 104.3 mn (2013:
EUR 248.7 mn incl. Business Unit Plastics). The focal point of the investment
activity was completion of the TENCEL® fiber production plant at the Lenzing
site as well as efficiency and modernization investments in the fields of energy
and fiber production.
Outlook for 2015
The difficult economic environment affecting the fiber industry hardly changed
in the first weeks of 2015 compared to the third and fourth quarters of the year
under review. The difficult market environment on the market for standard
viscose fibers is expected to continue in 2015. 
From an operational perspective, a further improvement of the product mix in the
textile segment, especially increasing specialty sales such as Lenzing Modal®
and TENCEL® fibers will be at the heart of Lenzing's efforts. The company
started the new financial year registering dynamic demand for TENCEL®.
The Lenzing Group is striving to further consolidate its global competitive
positioning by strengthening the commercial organization, resolutely continuing
its excelLENZ program in 2015 and by restructuring the technical areas
(engineering and maintenance operations, workshops and Lenzing Technik).


Key Group indicators

(in EUR mn)                                 1-12/2014               1-12/2013(1)
Group revenue                                1,864.22                   1,858.97
EBITDA                                          240.3                      193.9
EBITDA margin in %                               12.9                       10.4
EBIT                                             21.9                       58.6
EBIT margin in %                                  1.2                        3.2
Profit/loss for the period                      -14.2                       30.6
CAPEX                                           104,3                      248,4


                                        Dec. 31, 2014              Dec. 31, 2013
Adjusted equity ratio2in %                       44.9                       45.5
Number of employees at                          6,356                      6,675


(1) On a "like for like" basis
(2) Equity incl. investment grants less prop. deferred taxes
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[1]All of the following comparative figures refer to continuing operations
[2] % relation of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization
to revenue

Further inquiry note:
Lenzing AG
Mag. Angelika Guldt
Tel.: +43 (0) 7672-701-2713
Fax: +43 (0) 7672-918-2713

end of announcement                               euro adhoc 

issuer:      Lenzing AG
             A-A-4860 Lenzing
phone:       +43 7672-701-0
FAX:         +43 7672-96301
sector:      Chemicals
ISIN:        AT0000644505
indexes:     WBI, ATX, Prime Market
stockmarkets: free trade: Berlin, official market: Wien 
language:   English

Original content of: Lenzing AG, transmitted by news aktuell