Hawesko: On course after six months

  • Stable end-consumer business
  • Operating result (EBIT) lower than previous year but above long-term levels
  • Outlook confirmed

    The wine trading group Hawesko Holding AG (HAW GR, HAWG.DE, DE0006042708) published its report today on the first six months of 2009 as well as its results for the second quarter. In the quarter from 1 April to 30 June, Group sales decreased over the same quarter of the previous year (€ 76.6 million) by 8% to € 70.8 million before sales taxes. Development in the business with end consumers in the specialist retail (Jacques' Wein-Depot) and mail order (Hanseatisches Wein- und Sekt-Kontor) segments was very different from that in the wholesale segment. The wholesale segment posted declining sales, primarily due to the near standstill of the secondary market for Bordeaux wines of older vintages and consumer restraint with regard to the ultra-premium wines. The mail-order segment posted sales in the second quarter slightly below the level of the previous year, while Jacques' Wein-Depot achieved growth of 6% (on a like-for-like basis: 5%) over the previous year, after an increase of 8% in the same quarter of 2008. Once again, numerous new private customers were acquired. The working foundation of the end-consumer business was thus noticeably broadened once more. The consolidated result of operations (EBIT) amounted to € 3.3 million in the second quarter of 2009. In the previous year this figure was € 4.5 million -- the best in the company's history. Consolidated earnings (after deductions for taxes and minority interests) amounted to € 2.1 million and € 0.23 per share (same quarter in the previous year: € 2.8 million and € 0.33 per share).

    The Hawesko Group completed the first six months of fiscal year 2009 (1 January to 30 June) with sales of € 143.8 million (same period in the previous year: € 157.4 million). As already reported, the previous year's figure had included additional sales of € 2.8 million from the delivery of the much sought-after 2005 Bordeaux wines. The consolidated result of operations for the first six months of 2009 amounted to € 6.4 million (first six months of the previous year: € 9.2 million). Consolidated earnings (after deductions for taxes and minority interests) amounted to € 4.0 million and € 0.45 per share (€ 5.6 million and € 0.64 per share).

    The Hawesko management board notes that the figures for the first half of 2009 are within the expected range of its financial planning, considering that the outstanding performance in the previous year's first half is a very high basis for comparison. In view of the great uncertainty with regard to the development of the economy, the management board expects a decline in sales in 2009 in the medium single-digit percentage range (Group sales in 2008: € 339 million). As in every year, the business development in the fourth quarter is crucial, as the Group generally earns one-third of its sales and over half of its operating profit in the last quarter of the fiscal year. The management board makes no forecast for the 2009 result, but a distinctly positive result and a clearly positive free cash flow for the year overall are expected. In terms of EBIT, the Group continues to have a realistic possibility of achieving the second-best result of operations in its history, i.e. over € 19 million.

    Chief executive officer Alexander Margaritoff stated, 'Despite the uncertain economic situation and declining sales in parts of the Hawesko group, we are largely satisfied with the overall business development up to now. The very positive response from new customers we gained in the first six months is particularly encouraging: they are curious about the wine selections and services offered at Jacques' and in the mail order segment, want to try a variety of products and discover new -- or better -- wines. As the strongest company in the wine sector, highly profitable and with a sound financial basis, we have an outstanding position in the market and can certainly make the most of opportunities in the current situation.'

    Hawesko Holding AG is a leading supplier of premium wines and champagnes. In fiscal year 2008 the Group achieved sales of € 339 million through their three sales channels -- specialist wine retail (Jacques' Wein-Depot), wholesale (Wein Wolf and CWD Champagner und Wein Distributionsgesellschaft) and mail order (in particular Hanseatisches Wein- und Sekt-Kontor). The Group employs 614 people. In 2009, Hawesko Holding AG was named in a study by the international management consultancy BBDO Consulting and the department for innovative brand management of the University of Bremen, which was the basis for the 'Best Marketing Company Award' as one of the 6 German companies listed on the stock exchange with the best market focus. The shares of Hawesko Holding AG are listed on the Hanseatic Stock Exchange in Hamburg as well as in the prime standard segment of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.