Basler confident for 2006

MARCH 17--After a sluggish 2005, Basler AG (Ahrensburg, Germany; www.baslerweb.com) enters 2006 with an optimistic outlook.

MARCH 17--After a sluggish 2005, Basler AG (Ahrensburg, Germany; www.baslerweb.com) enters 2006 with an optimistic outlook. "Last year was marked by market fluctuations in almost all segments," CEO Dietmar Ley said at a press conference to present financial results. "After a weak phase in the first half of the year, the company's performance stabilized during the remaining course of the year. Since the end of the year we've seen increasing demand for our products, so we expect to get back on the path toward growth in 2006."

Turnover at the worldwide group amounted to €45 million in 2005 (€52.2 million in 2004). Despite the decline in turnover, an adequately high pretax profit of €3.6 million was achieved, which corresponds to a pretax margin of 8% (€8.2 million pretax profit with 16% pretax margin in 2004).

Sales of inspection systems for the flat-screen display industry made up a significant proportion of the turnover achieved in the previous year. With a total of more than 70 installed systems, Basler has built a significant worldwide market leadership. This growth was also supported in the past year by new products such as a color filter inspection system. Color filters are responsible for the presentation of color in finished flat-screen displays. Fifty-seven percent of the turnover in 2005 was achieved with products that were less than 24 months old. More than 100 employees in research and development are involved in developing new solutions and products at the group's headquarters.

Despite the slow development in turnover, Basler continued to hire new employees. At the end of 2005, the company employed 357 (compared to 338 at the end of 2004). In light of orders placed in recent months and upcoming new product introductions, the board of management expects turnover for 2006 to increase to €50 million.


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