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ALTANA Reports Positive Performance in 1Q 2008, Approves Dividend Plan


The business of ALTANA continued its positive development over the first quarter of 2008. Compared to the prior year's period, sales as well as operating earnings increased in spite of the cloudier general economic conditions especially in the U.S.

Sales amounted to €357.6 million, following €348.6 million in the prior year, corresponding to an increase of 3 percent. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose disproportionately to sales by 16 percent to €71.7 million (prior year: €61.6 million). At 20.1 percent, the EBITDA margin was at the upper end of ALTANA's medium-term target range of 18 to 20 percent.

The first quarter business performance of all divisions was influenced by negative exchange rate effects (in particular the U.S. dollar). The BYK Additives & Instruments division was able to increase sales by 7 percent, with sales growing from €112.7 million to €120.2 million. EBITDA rose by 5 percent from €35.3 million to €37.1 million.

At €93.9 million (prior year's period: €89.4 million), sales in the ECKART Effect Pigments division were up by 5 percent. At €21.0 million, EBITDA remained almost unchanged,

Sales in the ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants division were also slightly down to €55.4 million compared to €56.8 million in the prior year (a decrease of 3 percent). EBITDA rose by 2 percentfrom €6.3 million to €6.5 million due to the concentration on higher-margin products.

"Despite the more difficult market environment, especially in the U.S., we were able to once again increase sales and earnings in comparison to the excellent first quarter of 2007," stated Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber, CEO of ALTANA AG. The results proved that the company was very robustly positioned and was able to compensate for regional economic slowdowns through the dynamic development in other markets and regions. "We therefore still hold firm with our expectation of a positive business year 2008 and we are confident to achieve our earnings goals."
At the company's annual general meeting in Frankfurt ,the shareholders of ALTANA AG approved the dividend proposal made by the Supervisory and the Management Board. As a result, a regular dividend of €0.25 per share for the past business year will be distributed. This corresponds to a payout ratio of around 33% measured in terms of the net income (EAT), adjusted for the income from the investment of the purchase price for ALTANA Pharma (€35 million after taxes). This income will be fully distributed to ALTANA’s shareholders in the form of a special dividend amounting to €0.26 per share. Consequently, the shareholders will receive a dividend totaling €0.51 per share. The total dividend payment to the shareholders amounts to €69.4 million.

In the business year 2007, ALTANA achieved sales of €1,380.4 million. This is an increase of 7 percent on 2006.

At €248.5 million, ALTANA’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose disproportionately to sales by 33 percent. The EBITDA margin climbed from 14.4 percent to 18 percent. All divisions were able to increase their EBITDA margins.