Environment and markets’ evolution Following a volume decrease of 3.6% in 2002, the European paper distribution market has again shrunk in H1 2003 with a 3.8% fall in average tonnage Decreases in activity were particularly strong inFrance (- 7.7%), Switzerland (-6.2%), UK (-5.6%) and Benelux (-5.2%) Price per ton having also strongly decreased, the decline in the value of the European market can be estimated at almost 10% compared to H1 2002 The market continued its consolidation Buhrmann announced the sale of its paper merchant division (Antalis’ main competitor in Europe) to PaperlinX, an Australian group Classen (10% market share in Germany) has been put under court administration since the beginning of the summer Antalis
M€ H1 2003 H1 2002 D Turnover (7%) 1 188 1 273 Operating Income 13.9 8.4 +5.5 Operating Margin (%) 1.2% 0.7% Profit on ordinary activities (0.8) (11.8) +11.0 Net Profit (7.1) (16.6) +9.5 Net cash position (498.4) (517.5) +19.1 Antalis • In the context of the particularly difficult market, Antalis succeeded in improving its gross margin rate by 1 point while maintaining its market shares. • This margin improvement, combined with the continued cost reduction plan, allowed a 65% improvement in operating income. • The net cash position also improved, especially thanks to a 10 M€ reduction in working capital needs. • Therefore, the company’s profit on ordinary activities, before amortization of goodwill and exceptionals, almost reached breakeven. Net profit increased by 10 M€ in H1 2003.