*

Hitt og þetta 23. maí 2006

Feintool Group reports healthy growth in sales and disproportionately large rise in profit

The first-half result is attributable to organic growth: it was generated primarily by the implementation of structural improvements and efficiency gains, and by a stepping-up of marketing and development measures in all areas. Thanks to our employees' great commitment and the continuous expansion of our global presence and capacity, Feintool is proving able - despite the lacklustre market situation of the US auto industry - to follow up on the last two years' rising trend. Increasingly close cooperation with leading international universities forms an important basis for future technological developments.

With 63.2% of Group sales, the traditional Fineblanking/Forming segment reported another major expansion in business, even on top of its excellent result a year earlier. This segment's sales rose 7% to CHF 158.9 million (up from CHF 147.8 million) while EBIT improved from CHF 12 million to CHF 13.9 million (+16%). The improvement can be ascribed to brisk sales of presses and to the intensification of development work at major car manufacturers. This has given rise to a short-term strengthening of the toolmaking business, better utilization of parts manufacturing capacity in the medium term, and expansion of the fineblanking market segment in the long term. The newly developed Feintool HFAplus LT extended-table press, featuring FFS technology, has been well received by the market.

The Automation segment, which accounts for 21.9% of Group sales, has held its own on the market despite heavy pressure on prices. Optimized structures have been instrumental in helping it regain its competitiveness. There were significant gains in both sales (CHF 55.1 million, up from CHF 51.0 million a year previously) and EBIT (up to CHF 3.8 million from CHF 2.5 million). The system builders Automation Systems Aarberg/Berlin and IMA Automation Amberg succeeded in landing major projects. The Afag automation components business also continued to operate very successfully at the top end of the market for high-performance precision handling and feed modules. BalTec, the number 1 in radial riveting, delivered its 30,000th riveting machine in the past quarter.

The Plastic/Metal Components segment is currently expanding its global presence, and the associated divisional restructuring will impact the financial results over the next two years. Accounting for 14.9% of Group sales (CHF 37.5 million, down from CHF 37.9 million) it reported EBIT of CHF 0.2 million (previous year: CHF 1.6 million). The newly constructed facility at Lamphun, Thailand, was inaugurated in April 2006. Possible options for additional production in the NAFTA countries are being explored.

Balance sheet figures still in target range Total assets as at 31.03.06 amounted to CHF 415.3 million, i.e. slightly lower than the figure reported twelve months earlier (31.03.05: CHF 419.2 million). Short-term assets were held at the level as at 30.9.05 (end of the last financial year) despite higher sales. Group equity corresponds to about 32.5% of total assets. Free cash flow in the first half of the 2005/06 financial year was CHF 10.4 million, a considerable improvement over the figure of -CHF 10.7 million reported a year previously.

Good prospects for the current financial year Even though the operating environment - especially in the USA - remains hostile, Feintool posted organic growth of 6.5% in the first half of the financial year. In the light of these sound first-half figures, and given that both order books and order intake have exceeded expectations, management expects both sales and earnings for the full year (1.10.05-30.9.06) to outstrip the previous year's level.

Investments in the future The Feintool university colloquium held at RWTH technical university in Aachen, Germany, provided an opportunity to redefine the objectives and areas of cooperation that will secure our future in technological terms in conjunction with our four international university partners in Zurich, Aachen, Munich and Shanghai. This is testimony to Feintool's expertise and lays the foundation for expanding both our future role and the efficiency of fineblanking/forming technology. At the same time, a fineblanking press was donated to RWTH technical university for use in its research activities. Our key customers were given a preview of Feintool's new hydraulic extended-table press, the HFAplus LT, which is being unveiled at the EuroBlech technology fair next autumn. As of next year this new press will be offering even greater technological and cost benefits for special applications. Feintool has always been committed to environmental protection and industrial safety. Last April its Lyss facility was certified to ISO 14001:2004, so in addition to the rules already implemented formally through its management system Feintool actively lives up to its environmental commitment on a daily basis.

+-------------------------------------------------------------------+ | Key figures (CHF m) | 1st half | 1st half | Change % | | | 05/06 | 04/05 | | |--------------------------+--------------+--------------+----------| | Consolidated sales | 250.6 | 235.2 | +7 | |--------------------------+--------------+--------------+----------| | EBITDA | 24.8 | 20.9 | +18 | |--------------------------+--------------+--------------+----------| | Op. result (EBIT) | 14.5 | 11.4 | +27 | |--------------------------+--------------+--------------+----------| | Consolidated net income | 7.4 | 3.6 | +107 | |--------------------------+--------------+--------------+----------| | Free cash flow | 10.4 | -10.7 | | |--------------------------+--------------+--------------+----------| | Total assets | 415.3 | 419.2 | -1 | |--------------------------+--------------+--------------+----------| | Shareholders' equity | 134.9 | 116.5 | +16 | |--------------------------+--------------+--------------+----------| | Number of employees at | 1785 | 1767 | +1 | | 31.3 | | | | | Apprentices | 88 | 86 | +2 | +-------------------------------------------------------------------+


For further information, please contact: Reto Hartmann, CEO and Reto Welte, CFO, phone +41 (0)32 387 51 11

Feintool International Holding Industriering 8, CH-3250 Lyss Phone +41 (0)32 387 51 11 Fax +41 (0)32 387 57 81 feintool-fim@feintool.com www.feintool.com

Corporate Communications Urs Feitknecht Phone +41 (0)32 387 51 63 Fax +41 (0)32 387 54 16 urs.feitknecht@feintool.com

The media release including tables can be downloaded from the following link: