High earnings power remains a critical criterion
The growth in income was stronger than the sales growth. For the first
six months EBIT climbed by €6.8 million, or by good 15 percent, to €51.2
million. The operating margin increased to 21.8 percent after 21.1 percent
in the prior year. Net income grew 22 percent over the first half of 2005
to €33.8 million. Despite the greater number of shares outstanding
earnings per share rose to €1.20 (prior year: €1.02). Free cash flow
reached €23.2 million in the first half year (previous year: €35.0 million).
This decline was mainly caused by higher tax prepayments due to our
improved earnings situation. Moreover, cash flow during the first half
of 2005 was considerably better than usual due to extraordinarily high
cash receipts from South Africa. For the second half 2006, we expect a
significantly higher cash flow than in the previous year.