HOCHTIEF: New orders, work done and earnings up in Q1 2002

HOCHTIEF, of which Ballast Nedam owns 48%, started out well in FY 2002: in the first three months, both volume and earnings rose considerably in comparison with the same period last year. At EUR 4.3 billion, new orders were up 21 percent on the first quarter of 2001.

Work done increased by three percent to EUR 3.1 billion. Operating earnings grew by EUR 53 million to EUR 64 million. These were the figures presented today by the HOCHTIEF CEO, Dr. Hans-Peter Keitel, at the companyÂ's General ShareholdersÂ' Meeting in Essen.

'We have thus formed a solid foundation on which to build,' said Keitel. 'Given a normal business environment, we expect the volume to go on growing and our 2002 earnings to exceed last yearÂ's level.' He went on to say that the company has developed into an international provider of construction-related services, with participating interests in all the important markets worldwide. 'With our network and the global knowhow transfer between the various corporate divisions, we are well positioned for the future,' said Keitel.

The way the individual HOCHTIEF divisions developed in the first three months of 2002 varied: at HOCHTIEF Construction AG, the upward tendency of the second half of 2001 continued: operating earnings, at EUR - 19 million, represented a considerable improvement on the first quarter of last year (EUR - 35 million). With earnings of EUR 26 million, the Americas division outperformed last yearÂ's high level by EUR 9 million.

The newly-founded division Asia Pacific generated earnings of EUR 35 million, EUR 2 million more than in the first three months of 2001. Because of the assumption of our share of the losses made in 2001 by HOCHTIEFÂ's Dutch associated company Ballast Nedam N.V., the results of the International division declined to EUR - 26 million. In the first quarter of this year, the Airport division registered earnings of EUR 0.5 million. The increase in operating earnings by the Development division, to EUR 58 million, reflects the tax-free gain from the sale of the stake in the real estate company Monachia Grundstücks-AG at the beginning of this year. Some two-thirds of the proceeds from this transaction has been allocated to serve as a general risk provision, to strengthen our reserves.

In FY 2001, HOCHTIEF maintained its position among the leading companies in the international construction sector. The work-done volume, at EUR 13.4 billion, was 5.2 percent above the prior-year level, and the highest ever recorded in the companyÂ's history. The order backlog was also at an all-time high, with close on EUR 13.4 billion (+ 10.2 percent).

Earnings after taxes nevertheless declined, as anticipated. They were EUR 78 million, after EUR 127 million the year before. This fall was due entirely to the difficult situation in domestic building construction, which however now accounts for only eleven percent of HOCHTIEFÂ's total output. All the other divisions concluded 2001 successfully.

(source: Hochtief)

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