Finance costs and other financial income and expenses represented a net expense of EUR2.5 million, versus EUR6.5 million in 2007. The improvement was led by a reduction in net finance costs due to a higher average cash position for the year (as the Satisloh acquisition price was settled in the fourth quarter).
Income tax expense: effective tax rate of 29.2%
Income tax expense of EUR149.3 million represented an effective tax rate of 29.2%, down from 31.3% in 2007. The improvement was led by a lower tax rate in the United States, and to a lesser extent in the Latin American countries, as well as by sharply higher earnings in regions where tax rates are below the Company average.
Share of profits of associates
The share of profits of associates Sperian Protection (15%-owned), Transitions (49%-owned) and Vision Web (44%-owned) was slightly lower, at EUR26.1 million. The decline resulted mainly from Sperian Protection's earnings and also from the negative impact of the dollar on Transitions' earnings, although the company had a good year.
Profit attributable to equity holders of the parent up 4.3% and earnings per share of EUR1.85
Consolidated net profit totaled EUR388.8 million for the year, an increase of 4.8%. Profit attributable to equity holders of the parent was 4.3% higher at EUR382.4 million and represented 12.4% of revenue (12.7% excluding Satisloh), virtually unchanged from 2007. Earnings per share grew 3.7% to EUR1.85.
Goodwill totaled EUR958 million at December 31, 2008, an increase of EUR367 million principally due to the Satisloh acquisition.
Inventories and working capital
Inventories amounted to EUR475 million at December 31, 2008, up 21% from a year-earlier as reported and 9.1% like-for-like.
Investments EUR millions
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