Schneider Electric Announces Fourth-Quarter 2003 Sales Up 6%
Rueil Malmaison, January 20, 2004 Schneider Electric annual sales for the fiscal year 2003 amounted to 8,780 million euros, up 1.4% compared to the same period in 2002 on a constant structural and currency basis. Fourth-quarter 2003 sales rose a significant 6% from the same quarter in 2002 on a constant basis, to 2,333 million euros. For the first time in three years, fourth-quarter sales showed growth in all geographic areas, with the beginning of an upturn in Europe and continuous improvement in North America. On a current structural and currency basis, sales were up 5.3% for the fourth-quarter 2003 compared to the same quarter last year. Acquisitions (Digital and T.A.C) contributed 127 million euros to the fourth-quarter sales, or 5.7% of growth for the period. The currency effect was comparable to the prior quarter, at -143 million euros (- 6.5%). In Europe, fourth-quarter sales rose 0.9% compared to the same period last year, after stabilizing in previous quarters. Exceptional growth of nearly 25% was reported in Eastern Europe, where Schneider Electrics forefront positions are enabling it to leverage robust economic expansion in such countries as Russia and Ukraine. Growth was also significant in Spain, led by sustained demand in the infrastructure and commercial building segments. Sales growth was mixed in the rest of Europe where, despite a gradually improving economy, the Groups markets showed little sign of recovery. Sales in France rose in the fourth quarter, favored by invoicing of medium-voltage projects. Business in the UK was on an upward trend. In North America, fourth-quarter sales rose a sharp 7.9% both from the same period last year and, seasonally and working days adjusted, from the previous quarter. The gradual upturn in end-markets is being amplified by the positive impact of the action plans launched since the beginning of the year. In the Rest of the World, sales rose a remarkable 16.8% in the fourth quarter compared to the same quarter last year, amply outpacing local markets thanks to the quality of Schneider Electrics operations and the effectiveness of its business model. The favorable momentum built up in recent quarters quickened at year-end, generating significant growth in all of the regions. Sales growth was particularly strong in China (more than 20%) and in Japan. In a still contrasted business environment, Schneider Electric enjoyed a very good performance in the fourth quarter, reflecting its very solid positions in emerging markets, the action plans launched since early 2003 and the first impact of the economic recovery. In this context, and as announced, we expect operating margin to improve significantly in the second half, to 12% commented Henri Lachmann, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.Based on the current situation in our end markets and the euro exchange rate, we target a growth in sales of 8% to 10% in 2004, thanks to our growth initiatives and additional sales of 1 billion euros from our acquisitions. Annual financial results will be presented on February 20, 2004. For more information, please visit www.schneider-electric.com/en/chiffres/com.php3?FICHE=1175.
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