Wessanen shows solid improvement in 2004 results

Amstelveen, March 8, 2005 Highlights Full Year 2004 •  Financial performance significantly improved •  EBITAE up from EUR 9.9 million to EUR 60.2 million •  Net income up from a loss of EUR 33.2 million to a profit of EUR 1.8 million •  Working capital reduced with EUR 54 million •  Balance sheet further strengthened •  Net debt reduced with EUR 81 million to EUR 96 million •  Operation Phoenix timely executed with annualized savings on target •  Savings at EUR 102 million (annual run-rate) •  Headcount reduced with 1442 positions (target: 1270-1325) of which 1042 in 2004 •  ‘ Build on the Roots' (restructuring of US Distribution) achievements: •  SKU reduction of 30% •  Improvement of service levels by 4 percentage points •  Headcount reduced with 220 positions •  Dividend proposed of EUR 0.58 per share for 2004; for 2005 to be raised to EUR 0.65 Highlights fourth quarter 2004 •  EBITAE increased from EUR 5.0 million to EUR 15.9 million. •  Sales at constant exchange rates decreased from EUR 624 million to EUR 556 million mainly due to the termination of unprofitable business and declining low-carb sales in the US . •  In Europe EBITAE increased by 7.5% to EUR 18.7 million (Q4 2003: EUR 17.4 million) against stable sales •  In North America , EBITAE improved from negative EUR 9.5 million in Q4 2003 to negative EUR 1.7 million this quarter. Outlook 2005 Wessanen expects EBITAE in 2005 to continue to improve and arrive anywhere between EUR 70 to 85 million. The expected improvement is anticipated for the second half of 2005. The outcome is dependent on a number of variable factors, such as market developments and the effect of price pressure in the European retail channel, the speed of the completion of the turnaround in the US Distribution business, the development in raw material prices (meat, fuel, resin) , and the development of low-carb sales. The company will narrow down the range when further insight in aforementioned factors develops. Executive Board Royal Wessanen nv
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