13
March
2006
|
18:25
Europe/Amsterdam

Board of Directors approves 2005 financial statements

Milan , 13 March 2006 - The Board of Directors of Pirelli & C. SpA met today and approved full-year 2005 results .

The Pirelli & C. SpA Group
In 2005 the Pirelli & C. SpA Group successfully pursued its strategic focus on higher margin business , registering significant growth in all economic indicators. In particular, at the consolidated level the Group achieved, from the economic point of view, double digit growth in revenues (+14.6%), operating profit (+32%) and net profit (+31.3%) compared with the previous year and, from the point of view of the asset base, a significant reduction in net debt which, at the end of 2005, stood at 1,177 million euros, in part due to the positive effects of the disposal of the Cables and Systems activities during the course of the year.

In industrial activities , Pirelli Tyre achieved excellent results in 2005 and reached one year earlier the profitability target (ROS of 9%) set for 2006 in the 3-year plan, despite the increase in raw material costs. Revenues at the start-up Pirelli Broadband Solutions also saw strong growth and included the first contributions from second generation photonics. In the real estate sector, Pirelli RE closed the year with further improvement in results and launched its process of international expansion .

At the consolidated level, Group revenues on 31 December 2005 amounted to 4,546 million euros, an increase of 14.6% from 3,967 million euros in 2004 and with increases in all sectors of activity. On a like-for-like basis, and net of exchange rate variations and changes to the consolidation area, revenues rose 9.5%.

EBITDA totalled 568 million euros (12.5% on sales), an increase of 21% from 470 million euros in 2004 (11.8% on sales).

The consolidated operating income (EBIT) was 355 million euros, an increase of 32% from 269 million in 2004 and with growth in all sectors of activity. The margin of profitability ( ROS or Return on Sales) at the consolidated level stood at 7.8% , a further increase from 6.8% in 2004.

The results from participations , which include the evaluation by shareholders' equity method of investments and dividends from other companies not consolidated, is positive 267 million euros, compared with 156 million euros in 2004. In particular, the result of Olimpia was a positive 152 million euros (6.6 million euros in 2004), due both to Telecom Italia's improved results and the increase in the stake held by Pirelli compared to last year. This result was not impacted by the rectification by Olimpia of the value of Telecom Italia shares in its portfolio in that the transparent carrying value for Pirelli (approximately 4 euros per share) is however below that of Olimpia post-rectification (approximately 4.2 euros per share). It should be noted that Olimpia's financial statements, received in Group's consolidated statements, is drawn up in accordance with IAS/IFRS accounting standards and includes a valuation of the Telecom Italia stake which uses the shareholders' equity method. The results of the real estate sector company ( Pirelli RE Group) are also included and were a positive 102 million euros (94 million euros in 2004).

The operating profit including income from equity participations was 622 million euros, an increase of 46.4% from 425 million euros in 2004.

The entry for financial charges and receipts records a negative balance of 144 million euros (of which 64 million euros are linked to a fair-value evaluation of derivatives on Telecom Italia ordinary shares held by the Group) compared with 121 million in 2004.

The net profit on 31 December 2005 was 399 million euros, an increase of 31.3% from 304 million in 2004.

The attributable net profit of Pirelli & C. SpA on 31 December 2005 was a positive 327 million euros (0.066 euros per share), an increase of 30.3% compared with 251 million euros in 2004 (0.065 euros per share).

Consolidated shareholders' equity totaled 5,614 million euros, compared with 3,841 million euros in 2004. Shareholders' equity attributable to Pirelli & C. SpA on 31 December 2005 stood at 5,205 million euros (0.979 euros per share), compared with 3,502 million euros in 2004 (1.011 euros per share).

Group net debt on 31 December 2005 continued to decline, reaching 1,177 million euros compared with 1,236 million euros on 30 September 2005 and 1,601 million euros on 31 December 2004.

In 2005, the Group maintained its priority commitment to research and technology , with investments in research and development of 174 million euros, approximately 3.8% of sales.

Group headcount on 31 December 2005 stood at 26,827 against 24,790 on 31 December 2004 in a like-for-like basis, with an increase of 2,037 employees (of whom 381 with temporary contracts) mainly in Tyre activities and the result of volume growth and expansion into China and Romania.

Pirelli Tyre
Revenues on 31 December 2005 amounted to 3,633 million euros, with an increase of 11.7% compared with 3,253 million on 2004 ( + 7.4% on a like-for-like basis and net of exchange rate effects), due to the price/mix component and a confirmation of the continuing focus on the top-of-the-range segment.

EBITDA was 518 million euros (14.3% on sales), an increase of 14.6% from 452 million euros in 2004.

The operating income amounted to 329 million euros, an increase of 19.6% from 275 million euros on 31 December 2004, with a ROS of 9.1% .

The net profit (after financial charges of 34 million euros and fiscal charges of 97 million euros) was a positive 198 million euros, an increase of 18.6% from 167 million euros in 2004.

The net financial position on 31 December 2005 was negative 237 million euros compared with 214 million on 31 December 2004, including the 59 million euros impact of the joint-venture in China .

At end December 2005, the headcount was 23,673 , including 2,958 with temporary contracts (on 31 December 2004 the headcount was 21,513, of whom 2,576 were temporary).

In 2005, Pirelli Tyre reinforced the growth trend of 2004, reaching a higher rate of growth than the reference market in which it operates in terms of profitability. The excellent performance of 2005 was the result of a continued focus on the product mix, price increases and volume increases, which more than offset higher energy and raw material costs in the context of less-than-brilliant market demand. In the consumer segment (Cars and Moto) the group saw a rise in volumes and sales, particularly in North America, and in the Premium segment there were improvements in all geographical area and for the Winter products in Europe . In the Industrial segment, 2005 saw a positive growth trend, especially in original equipment, and from the launch of truck radial production in Yanzhou , China , which will serve the Chinese market and also South East Asia and Australia .

Pirelli Broadband Solutions
Revenues on 31 December 2005 amounted to 112 million euros, with an increase of 78% from 63 million in 2004.

EBITDA was negative 6.3 million euros, an improvement from negative 8 million in 2004.

The operating income , while positive for broadband access activities, was impacted by start-up costs for second generation photonics products and was overall negative 7 million euros, an improvement from negative 8.4 million in 2004.

The net profit on 31 December 2005 was negative 8 million euros, an improvement from negative 12 million in 2004.

The net financial position was negative 7.2 million euros.

On 31 December 2005, the headcount was 122 compared with 79 on 31 December 2004.

In 2005, Pirelli Broadband Solutions achieved a significant increase in revenues compared with the previous year, due mainly to broadband access products (in particular ADSL), which continue to confirm positive prospects for development in Italy and abroad, and the launch of second generation photonics products. In this business there has been an excellent response from the market for CWDM solutions (Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing) for metropolitan networks. The development of Dynamically Tunable Laser (DTL) also continued, now in the qualification phase with principle clients, and, on the access front, of customized multiple-play solutions.

Pirelli RE
It should be noted that Pirelli RE is a management company , which manages funds and special purpose companies that own properties and non-performing loans, and in which it holds minority interests (the fund and asset management businesses). It also provides a full range of property services to the above vehicles and to other customers (the property services business), either directly or via its franchise network of estate agents. Aggregate revenues (which according to IAS/IFRS accounting standards substantially equate with the aggregate value of production net of acquisitions used in previous financial statements) and operating profit including income from equity participations are, therefore, the most appropriate measure of the Group's turnover and operating performance.

The operating profit including income from equity participations amounted to 186.1 million euros, with an increase of 40% from 133 million euros in 2004.

On 31 December 2005, attributable net profit rose to 145.4 million euros, an increase of 24% from 117.1 million euros in 2004.

The result on 31 December continues to be characterized by a significant increase in fees in the activities of Fund and Asset Management and from the improvement in profitability from Service Provider activities; the expansion of Franchising activities continued, with affiliates rising to 1,020, as planned.

For further information on the performance of real estate activities, consult the press release issued by Pirelli & C. Real Estate on 10 March 2006.

Pirelli Ambiente
Pirelli & C. Ambiente Holding, the company created at the beginning of 2005 to strengthen the Group's presence in the environmental sector and sustainable development, registered 2005 revenues of approximately 62 million euros, mainly linked to the sale of its low environmental impact fuel Gecam - Il Gasolio Bianco . During the year, the company began marketing anti-particulate filters for diesel powered vehicle emissions.

In the fields of renewable energy and energy recovery, the production of quality fuel from solid urban waste (Cdr-P) continued. Through an agreement signed with ReEnergy in the United Kingdom , the positive financial effects of which will impact accounts in 2006, the company will be able to evaluate the business's development potential in one of the European markets most interested in the utilization of Cdr-P as a partial substitute for fossil fuels in thermo-electric power plants and cement kilns.

The work of reclaiming and re-qualifying contaminated sites, the result of experience gained in the real estate and industrial fields, also continued.

Outlook for 2006
The strategic focus on high value-added segments allows the Group to forecast a further improvement in results in 2006, excluding external factors of an extraordinary and today unforeseeable nature.

In industrial activities, Pirelli Tyre forecasts even for the current year an increase in sales higher than that expected for the world market, due to the focus on the premium segments in the Consumer market and fast growing markets in the Industrial segment. The increase in energy and primary material costs should be offset by an improved price/mix, to permit an overall operating result higher than 2005, excluding non-recurring factors.

Pirelli Broadband Solutions is expected to maintain its strong development in the access market, with its affirmation at the international level, and the introduction of new photonics products based on nanotechnological optical devices. Overall, the company should post a rate of growth of approximately 30% with an improved operating result close to break-even.

Pirelli RE is expected to post in 2006 a further increase in its operating profit including income from equity participations in line with the guidance of the 2006-2008 industrial plan.

Pirelli & C. SpA results
The net profit on 31 December 2005 of the Pirelli & C. SpA parent company was a positive 140 million euros, compared with a profit of 118 million in 2004.

Shareholders Meeting and dividend proposal
The Board of Directors will propose to the Shareholder Meeting the distribution of a dividend of 0.0210 euros per ordinary share and 0.0364 euros per savings share. The dividends will be distributed to approximately 5.2 billion ordinary shares and approximately 135 million savings shares: the total dividend payout will be approximately 114 million euros.

In a change from an earlier announcement, the Board has decided to call the Ordinary Shareholders meeting for the approval of 2005 results on 20 April (in first call) and on 21 April (in second call); the dividend will be paid on 25 May 2006 (coupon date 22 May 2006). The Shareholders Meeting shall also vote the renewal of the Board of Statutory Auditors and renewal of the delegation to buy its treasury shares in compliance with the overall possession limit of 10% of the share capital.

Plan to float Pirelli Tyre
The Board of Directors, proceeding in line with the decision of 14 February, also decided to launch the plan to float Pirelli Pneumatici SpA on the Milan Stock Exchange (Mercato Telematico Azionario), while continuing to maintain the majority stake of the company in the possession of Pirelli & C SpA. The control of the international affiliates now under Pirelli Tyre Holding NV will be transferred to Pirelli Pneumatici SpA. Market conditions permitting, completion of the project is expected by summer 2006.

Corporate Governance
The Board of Directors, in postponing the adjustment of by-laws following the Legge sul Risparmio, adopted specific procedures for the handling and communication to the public of privileged information, in accordance with the regulatory framework as modified by the recent law on market abuse. Such procedures, instituting a Register of the people with access to privileged information, in effect from 1 April 2006, regulate disclosure and ensure confidentiality during the drafting phase.

Significant events after 31 December 2005
On February 6, Olimpia SpA and its shareholders Pirelli & C. SpA, Edizione Finance International SA, Edizione Holding SpA, Banca Intesa SpA and Unicredito Italiano SpA sent notification to Hopa SpA of their withdrawal from the agreement undersigned between the above-mentioned parties in 2003. Consequently, at the expiring date (May 8, 2006), the agreement will not be renewed.

Conference Call
The 2005 results will be explained at 4.30 p.m GMT during a conference call with the participation of the Chairman of Pirelli & C. SpA, Marco Tronchetti Provera.

The press will be able to follow the presentation, without the possibility of intervening, by calling +39 06 33485042 .

The presentation will also be available in audio streaming - in real time - on the company's website www.pirelli.com , in the Investor Relations section, where it will also be able to consult the relative slides.



Summaries of the financial statements for the period ending 31 December 2005; pro-forma consolidated balance sheet and statement of income for Pirelli & C. S.p.A at 31 December 2005, assuming full consolidation of Olimpia S.p.A. and valuation of the investment in Telecom Italia S.p.A. according to the equity method.




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