|NOTOS COM FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE ON AN UPWARD TREND
The development of Notos Com financials over the first quarter of 2004 was particularly positive. Specifically:
PROFITS BEFORE TAXES: euro 7.87 mln
PBT reached euro 7.87 mln v. euro 6.21 mln for FY 2003, giving a marked increased by 26.6% compared to the same period in the previous year.
EBITDA euro 10.15 mln
EBITDA for the period was euro 10.15 mln (20% on Turnover), compared to euro 8.93 mln in the previous year, an increase of 13.7%.
GROSS PROFIT euro 21.73 mln
Gross Profit was higher, reaching euro 21.73 mln (a Gross Profit Margin of 42.85%) versus euro 19.73 mln at the end of the same quarter in 2003 (GM Margin 40.71%), a increase of 10.2% in absolute figures.
TURNOVER euro 50.73 mln
Turnover increased at a rate of 4.69% compared to 2003, reaching euro 50.73 mln, from euro 48.45 mln in the previous financial year.
The rate of growth of Turnover falls short of what has been budgeted for the year (an increase of 9.7%), one reason being the delay witnessed in deliveries of apparel from foreign suppliers, and another the fact that one floor in the Notos Galleries Lambropoulos (traditional) department store, through which sales of home products were effected, closed down over the duration of the quarter since its use was being altered (hitherto the floor caters for younger generation trendy apparel).
The satisfactory increase in Turnover was achieved with a better product mix in terms of profitability. Thus, the increased Gross Margin was improved by 2.14 points, at 42.85% on Turnover, due to a more ideal mix and the fact that the sales period during the current year was shorter. The effect of the slight increase in operating expenses as a percentage of Turnover (due to higher advertising expenses) was set off by the increase in other expenses, as a result of which EBITDA was higher by about 14%, reaching euro 10.1 mln, with an improved margin by 1.58 points, i.e. 20% on Turnover, from 18.42% over the same period in 2003.
Finally, the 31.4% drop in financing costs due to lower debt by euro 24 mln following the repayment of the first two installments of the syndicated loan, in combination with the improvement in operating profits and the lower extraordinary losses, led to an important increase in Net Profits by 26.6%, with a 15.5% margin on Turnover, i.e. increased by 2.69 points compared to last years performance.
On the basis of these developments, Notos Com management is certain that the results as presented and published in March 2004, will once again be realized.
Consolidated Turnover exhibited a higher growth rate, since they were increased by 6.72% compared to the respective quarter in 2003, reaching euro 58.53 mln. This is due to the positive contribution of AIAKOS SA, i.e. the new home products department store Notos Galleries Home, a contribution that was set back by the fact that there was no Turnover from Big City Corporation, the Group's computer company whose activities were terminated at the end of 2003.
Gross Profits reached euro 26.3 mln, increased by 11.46%, while the Margin on Turnover was at 44.95% versus 43.04% last year.
Higher operating expenses (30% on Turnover v. 27% in 2003) resulting from increased advertising costs, limited the rate of growth of EBITDA to 6.5%, reaching euro 9.9 mln, or 16.9% on Turnover.
Finally, Earnings before Tax were improved by about 8%, at euro 6.63 mln, with a margin of 11.33% on Turnover versus 11.2% last year. Compared to EBT at the company level, consolidated figures exhibit a lower increase due, on the one hand, to depreciation allowances for AIAKOS SA and, on the other, the comparatively slower fall in financing expenses, since the positive effect of the lower balance on the syndicated loan was reduced by the effect of loans of subsidiaries.