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Hitt og þetta 27. apríl 2006

Celesio proposes dividend of 1.40 euros per share to the annual general meeting

Stuttgart/Germany, 27 April 2006. The Celesio AG management board and supervisory board proposed a dividend increased to 1.40 euros per share to today's annual general meeting. This is 16.7 percent more than the previous year, and with 119.1 million euros the highest total dividend ever to be paid by Celesio. The dividend per share is made up of two components: 1.35 euros per share, equivalent to a 30 percent payout of the net profit adjusted for a trade tax refund. Added to this is a special dividend of 5 cents per share, with which Celesio shareholders are to benefit from the trade tax refund. Fritz Oesterle, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO commented on the dividend: "We are maintaining our long tradition of paying out around 30 percent of net profit adjusted for extraordinary items. In this way our shareholders benefit directly from our successful business development in 2005."

Reaching new milestones

In the 2005 fiscal year, Celesio increased revenue and profit compared to the previous year for the 19th time in succession. Profit before tax at 554.5 million euros was 12 percent up on the previous year. "Celesio is very successful as a long-distance runner and achieved numerous new milestones in the last fiscal year", Oesterle reported at the annual general meeting. For the first time in its history, Celesio achieved revenue of more than 20 billion euros, owns more than 2,000 pharmacies and reached a market capitalisation of over 6 billion euros.

Celesio continued its successful development in all three divisions in 2005: in Wholesale the acquisitions Soquifa-Medicamentos in Portugal and Kemofarmacija in Slovenia were consolidated for the first time. The Pharmacies division was expanded through the takeover of a group of 110 British pharmacies. Solutions, the third and youngest division, was strengthened considerably with acquisitions consolidated for the first time such as Sanalog and the British market leader Healthcare Logistics.

Successful acquisition strategy is continued

"In the past, Celesio has grown in organic terms and through acquisitions. We shall continue this strategy", Oesterle announced. At the beginning of April 2006 only, Celesio entered a new market in Europe with the takeover of the two Danish pharmaceutical wholesalers Max Jenne and K. V. Tjellesen.

Celesio also announced the acquisition of a 30 percent share in pharmexx GmbH, Hirschberg/Germany. Pharmexx is one of Europe's two leading providers of sales and marketing services for the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmexx hires out to pharmaceutical manufacturers individual sales representatives and sales teams. As a result pharmexx constitutes the new second business unit of the Solutions division, alongside Movianto.

In March 2006, Celesio renamed the first Solutions business unit Movianto. Celesio combines Europe-wide its contract distribution and logistics services for pharmaceutical manufacturers under the highly appropriate and concise name Movianto.

The acquisitions Max Jenne, K. V. Tjellesen and pharmexx are still pending approval by the competition authorities.

Conversion to registered share and share split planned

In order to make the Celesio share even more attractive, the management board and supervisory board proposed a change in the share classification to registered shares to the annual general meeting. Oesterle explained the proposal: "This will make communication channels between the company and shareholders at Celesio even shorter."

The management board and supervisory board have also proposed a share split in the ratio 1 to 2. The nominal price of the Celesio share would therefore be lower and thus the share more liquid especially for private investors.

Committed to success: Social commitment expanded

Within the scope of its cooperation with Doctors for Developing Countries, Celesio continued in 2005 to campaign for the health also for those people who lack the funds for essential medical care. For example, in India's Calcutta, Celesio provided a mobile laboratory to test medicines for their components, active ingredients and dosage. Celesio is currently researching the possibility of setting up an outpatients' clinic together with the Doctors for Developing Countries to treat children suffering from tuberculosis in Calcutta.

Optimistic prospects for the future

The Celesio management board gave a confident forecast. "We anticipate that group revenue will grow more strongly than the European pharmaceutical market also in 2006", Oesterle said at the annual general meeting. He anticipates Celesio Wholesale to grow in line with the comparable market, Celesio Pharmacies to grow even ahead of the market and for Celesio Solutions to show satisfactory organic growth. In terms of profit before tax for the group, the company anticipates a significant increase over the previous year - this would then be the 20th rise of profit in succession. The target as an average in the next few years is double digit growth for pre-tax profit.

Press contact:

Celesio AG Corporate Communications Michael Rüdel Neckartalstrasse 155 D-70376 Stuttgart Telephone: +49 711 5001-658 Telefax: +49 711 5001-1260 E-mail: michael.ruedel@celesio.com Internet: www.celesio.com