Fuchs Profits Up Again

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Fuchs Petrolub AG Thursday reported a 32 percent jump in its first-quarter profit, due primarily to cost-cutting and lower taxes and interest expense.

The Mannheim, Germany, lubricant company had net income of Euro 5.8 million (U.S. $6.8 million) during the first three months of 2003, compared to Euro 4.4 million during the same period of 2002. Sales revenue dippednearly 1percent to Euro 263.4 million, although the decline was the result of currency translation, which cost the company Euro 21.3 million, or 8 percent of sales.

The shifts in exchange rates – the euro gained in value against the U.S. dollar and South American currencies – likewise lowered costs, which also benefited from company initiatives. As a result, the companys operating profit rose 4.7 percent to Euro 20 million. Interest expenses fell from Euro 6.3 million to Euro 6 million, income tax from Euro 5.5 million to Euro 5.2 million.

Disregarding exchange rates, sales revenue rose 7.1 percent over the year earlier period. Most of the increase was the result of internal growth in East Asia and the Middle East. Sales revenue in Europe and the Americas was up before currency translation.

Management said it expects sales and profits to remain healthy, though the current quarter may not match last years record-setting second quarter performance. Officials projected sales of Euro 1.1 billion for the full year 2003.

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