Bechtle AG

ots Ad hoc-Service: Bechtle AG Bechtle continues to expand in 2nd quarter Growth in e-commerce 111 %, system integration 60 %
acquisition of yet another system house

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    Gaildorf (Bechtle)(ots Ad hoc-Service) -  

    Bechtle continues to expand in 2nd quarter Growth in e-commerce 111 %, system integration 60 % / acquisition of yet another system house

    Bechtle AG at the end of the second quarter is still determined to achieve its ambitious goal of exceeding the one billion (DM) sales mark. Despite an extremely difficult market environment, Bechtle made its presence felt yet again with an outstanding 68 percent increase in sales in the first half of 2000. Sales rose to DM 394.7 million in the first six months of the current fiscal year, compared with DM 234.7 million for the same period of the previous year.

    E-commerce business performance once again proved to be particularly successful, boasting a Europe-wide increase of 111 percent. Total sales in the e-commerce segment amounted to DM 76.5 million, with DM 62.6 million achieved primarily through its own sales efforts. DM 14.3 million resulted from the acquisition of Schweizer ComSoft Data direct SA in Gland, Switzerland. With this acquisition, Bechtle now has the status of a Microsoft Large Account Reseller for all the domestic members of the Group, which will have a positive impact on the Group's buying conditions.

    System integration business grew 60 percent overall, and is accounted for primarily by the acquisition of four companies prior to 30th June. Internal growth increased 4 percent despite a currently sharply declining market.

    Results stay positive Although demand in the services segment was again unsatisfactory, the first six months ended with positive results. Gross profit from sales increased by 42.1 percent to DM 46.6 million. As a percentage of sales, however, this was 11.8 percent compared with 14.8 percent in the same period of the previous year, resulting primarily from this decline in the services segment. This is also evident in the EBIT, which amounted to DM 2.9 million in the first six months, compared with DM 8.3 million in the previous year. The EBITDA, at DM 11.4 million, remained close to the previous year's figure of DM 13 million.

    Despite the reduced demand, the workforce was not reduced in the services segment. The target, however, was maintained, in order to be ready for any significant recovery on the market. The time was used, therefore, to provide extensive and thus cost-intensive training for Bechtle personnel.

    The current situation on the market supports this assessment. In the third quarter, a quite perceptible increase in demand is already evident, resulting in a significant increase in sales in July. "We are convinced, therefore, that we will achieve the targets we have set for the second half of the year," commented CEO Gerhard Schick.

    New e-commerce company in Belgium Evidence that the internationalisation of Bechtle's strong e-commerce business area is moving ahead has been highlighted with another European e-commerce subsidiary that was set up recently in Belgium. Bechtle is now represented in eight European companies with this new company. A new edition of the Bechtle Catalogue, which supports the products and services available on the Web in direct sales, is to appear soon, comprising 210,000 copies printed in three languages. There is also a sharp increase in the demand for the business-oriented workplace portal Bechtle Bios( (Bechtle Information and Ordering System), which streamlines IT ordering processes and offers considerable savings potential. Around 200 companies have chosen to use this cost-reducing tool to date. The number of users has doubled since the IPO.

    In addition, with the acquisition in July of the current fiscal year of H. Hartmann GmbH and its very popular e- commerce brand "All Around My M

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