Celesio continues its growth course

Stuttgart, 13 November 2007. Celesio continued its growth course in the first nine months of this year. The third quarter, however, proved weak by comparison with the previous quarters, as expected. Celesio increased group revenue in the first nine months of this year by 4.4 percent to 16.6 billion euros. The acquisition of 117 pharmacies, largely in the United Kingdom, and the purchase of the DocMorris Group made a positive contribution to this. The gross profit margin rose from 11.29 percent to 11.34 percent in the first three quarters of 2007. The Celesio Pharmacies division in particular impacted positively on gross profit. The Movianto business unit also contributed to the absolute increase in gross profit. By contrast, Wholesale was faced with government measures and keen competition in Germany, both having a negative impact on gross profit growth. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) grew in the first nine months of 2007 as a result of the increase in gross profit by 5.3 percent to 627.4 million euros. Return on sales, based on EBITDA, showed an increase over the same period last year of four basis points to 3.77 percent. Profit before tax rose 2.0 percent to 451.8 million euros. In the first three quarters Celesio increased net profit by 5.4 million euros to 320.2 million euros. Earnings per share showed an improvement of 0.03 euros to 1.87 euros, a growth of 1.6 percent. Cash flow between January and September 2007 stood at 406.0 million euros, a drop of 5.8 percent compared to the same period last year. The payment of the dividend and the investments were financed totally from cash flow, as were the majority of acquisitions. Price cuts implemented last year particularly in France, Germany and the United Kingdom impacted for the first time on the whole period under review. Since 1 July 2007 the reduction in reimbursement prices for medicines has negatively affected growth in the United Kingdom. The prices of medicines were also reduced in Portugal and Ireland. In Germany the Gesetz zur Stärkung des Wettbewerbs in der gesetzlichen Krankenversicherung (Law to strengthen competition in statutory health insurance) which came into force on 1 April this year led to an intensification of discount competition and higher levels of expenditure for wholesalers. Celesio nevertheless maintained its growth course in the first nine months of 2007. The Wholesale division is set to grow in line with the comparable market in the fiscal year 2007. Two extraordinary items have not been taken into consideration here: firstly, Germany's pharmacy associations and consequently the pharmacy customers of Celesio's German wholesaler reacted negatively to the acquisition of DocMorris. The management board expects Celesio Wholesale however to regain the market position it had prior to the acquisition of DocMorris in Germany. Secondly, a manufacturer in the United Kingdom switched his distribution system. Since March he has been supplying pharmacies directly through a single logistics partner and therefore also no longer through AAH, Celesio's British wholesaler. In the third quarter 2007 three further manufacturers announced their intention to restrict distribution of their products in the United Kingdom to a limited number of wholesalers, among them AAH. This will further strengthen AAH's market position. The organic growth of the Celesio Pharmacies division will be greater than the comparable market in the 2007 fiscal year. The market position of Celesio Pharmacies will be expanded by means of acquisitions and new openings. The integration of DocMorris has been completed, the mail order business and brand partnerships of DocMorris are developing positively in line with expectations. Added to this, the purchase of DocMorris is an important strategic step in view of the potential liberalisation of the German pharmacy market. The young markets for the Solutions division are developing well, therefore Movianto will also expand its service portfolio and storage capacities at national and international level. The profit of the service provider pharmexx, in which Celesio has a strategic holding, will show positive growth. Profit before tax set to rise for the 21st time in succession The management board expects profit before tax in the current fiscal year to show an increase over the previous year for the 21st time in succession. The company is taking into account an unexpected burden on profit in the fourth quarter, caused by the unexpectedly severe reduction in reimbursement prices for medicines and fee payments to pharmacies in the United Kingdom with effect from 1 October 2007. The intensified competition in Germany will also negatively impact on business development. Profit growth is also further hampered by higher financing costs. However, the fact that extraordinary items from the fourth quarter of 2006 no longer apply, will positively affect growth in profit in the fourth quarter of 2007. +-------------------------------------------------------------------+ | Key figures | 2006 | 2007 | Change | | 1st - 3rd | | | in percent | | quarter | | | | |------------------+-----------------+-----------------+------------| | Revenue | 15.9 billion | 16.6 billion | 4.4 | | | euros | euros | | |------------------+-----------------+-----------------+------------| | Gross profit | 1.8 billion | 1.9 billion | 4.9 | | | euros | euros | | |------------------+-----------------+-----------------+------------| | EBITDA | 595.5 million | 627.4 million | 5.3 | | | euros | euros | | |------------------+-----------------+-----------------+------------| | EBIT | 519.2 million | 545.5 million | 5.1 | | | euros | euros | | |------------------+-----------------+-----------------+------------| | Profit before | 442.8 million | 451.8 million | 2.0 | | tax | euros | euros | | |------------------+-----------------+-----------------+------------| | Net profit | 314.8 million | 320.2 million | 1.7 | | | euros | euros | | |------------------+-----------------+-----------------+------------| | Cash flow | 431.1 million | 406.0 million | -5.8 | | | euros | euros | | |------------------+-----------------+-----------------+------------| | Earnings per | 1.84 euros* | 1.87 euros | 1.6 | | share | | | | +-------------------------------------------------------------------+ *Adjusted for share split 1:2 About Celesio Group: Celesio generated sales revenue totalling 21.6 billion euros in 2006. The number of people working for the company stands at 37,486 (September 30, 2007). Celesio operates in 16 countries. Its three divisions Wholesale, Pharmacies and Solutions cover the entire spectrum of pharmaceutical distribution and associated services. In Wholesale 131 branches make over 100,000 deliveries every day. Celesio's 2,236 pharmacies serve more than 500,000 customers every day. In the Solutions division Celesio offers pharmaceutical manufacturers logistics and distribution solutions, supported by sales and marketing services. Press contact: Rainer Berghausen, Celesio AG, +49 (0)711.5001-549 rainer.berghausen@celesio.com --- End of Message --- Celesio AG Neckartalstrasse 155 Stuttgart Germany WKN: CLS100; ISIN: DE000CLS1001; Index: CDAX, MDAX, Prime All Share, CLASSIC All Share, HDAX, MIDCAP; Listed: Amtlicher Markt in Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, Prime Standard in Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, Amtlicher Markt in Bayerische Börse München, Amtlicher Markt in Börse Düsseldorf, Amtlicher Markt in Börse Stuttgart, Freiverkehr in Hanseatische Wertpapierbörse zu Hamburg, Freiverkehr in Niedersächsische Börse zu Hannover, Amtlicher Markt in Börse Berlin;