Schneider Electric Reports First-Quarter 2004 Sales Up a Strong 14.1%
- Sustained organic growth of 7% - Return to growth in Western Europe and confirmation of recovery in North America - Remarkable performance from all the emerging countries - Significant contribution from acquisitions Rueil Malmaison, April 20, 2004 First-quarter 2004 sales totaled 2,372 million euros, up a strong 14.1% on a current structural and currency basis from first quarter 2003. Recent acquisitions - MGE UPS Systems, TAC and Clipsal - made a significant contribution of 265 million euros (+12.7%) to quarterly sales. The currency effect continued to have a substantial negative impact of -116 million euros or -5.6%. On a constant structural and currency basis, sales rose a steady 7% from the year-earlier period. Growth was amplified by the comparison with a weak first quarter 2003. The favorable trend compared to the previous quarter continued, thanks to faster growth in the emerging countries and a beginning of improvement in business in Western Europe.Specialists recorded organic growth of 6%, confirming the potential of these new growth platforms. In Europe, sales rose 3.5% from the year-earlier period thanks to improved trends in most countries. Eastern Europe again recorded exceptional growth, of 30%. Backed by solid operations, Schneider Electric is particularly well positioned to take advantage of the high level of investment in industry and infrastructure. In Western Europe, business showed signs of recovery, thanks to an upturn in the industry market and a stabilized trend in non-residential building. Virtually all countries in the region returned to growth. The increase was most noticeable in Italy, reflecting projects billed in the first quarter. In France, sales change was slightly favorable. In North America, sales growth reached 5.2% compared to the first quarter 2003, in a context of a moderate upswing in the end markets. Schneider Electric continued to benefit from its sales and marketing action plans. Business trends were good in residential and retail buildings and stable in the other markets, with stronger demand, however, from OEMs. In the AsiaPacific region, sales continued to climb, rising 20.7% from first quarter 2003. Operations in China grew a record 40%, a remarkable performance that reflects Schneider Electrics forefront positions and high-quality lineup in a buoyant environment. Sales in India grew by 62%, in line with the Groups ambitious targets. In the Rest of the world, sales advanced by a strong 18% compared to the same quarter last year. Growth trends were very positive in all regions: Africa, Middle East and South America. Schneider Electric achieved strong growth in the first quarter thanks to another excellent performance in the emerging countries, a gradual recovery in the end markets of mature countries amplified by our action plans, and the contribution of our acquisitions, commented Henri Lachmann, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. In light of this situation, we have revised our full-year organic sales growth estimate upwards to 4%-5%.
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