Interim report

Net Income Close to Record Second Quarter of 1998 * Sales: EUR 3.7 billion, up 27% (NLG 8.2 billion, GBP 2.4 billion, USD 3.9 billion) * Operating income: EUR 379 million, up 14% (NLG 835 million, GBP 248 million, USD 400 million) * Net income: EUR 217 million (1998: EUR 219 million) * Net income per share: EUR 0.76 (second quarter 1998: EUR 0.77) * Financial ratios improved: Gearing ratio 1.92 from 2.39, interest coverage at 5.3 * Outlook: Full-year net income expected to reach same order of magnitude as 1 1998 * Divestments: Contract with PPG Industries on sale of PRC-DeSoto at end of July, completing the divestment program of former Courtaulds activities * Pharma: Organon and Organon Teknika major growth Drivers; acquisition of Kanebo and Gellini/Nuova ICC further enhancing growth potential * Coatings: Acquisitions enhancing earnings * Chemicals: Strong performance sustained * Acordis: Holding up despite textile cycle Commenting on the results Fritz Fröhlich, Chief Financial Officer of the Company, said: "Our results in the second quarter show improvement with net income approaching that of the record second quarter of 1998, despite higher financing charges. Sales were up 27 percent and operating income increased by 14 percent. Pharma continued to be the star performer, delivering 18 percent growth. Coatings is clearly in the leading market position worldwide. Sales were up 36 percent due largely to the successful acquisitions we completed during 1998 and operating income rose 28 percent. Chemicals sustained their strong performance and exceeded their record second quarter of 1998 with sales up 7 percent and operating income up 2 percent. Acordis continued to deliver a positive contribution despite the severe impact of the textile cycle." "The half year was in line with our expectations, coming in slightly behind the strong first half of 1998. Sales were up 25 percent and operating income increased by 13 percent. Assuming no major changes in economic growth and currencies, we now expect full-year earnings - excluding nonrecurring items- to reach the same order of magnitude as in 1998." 1 A s s u m i n g n o m a j o r c h a n g e s i n e c o n o m i c g r o w t h a n d c u r r e n c i e s a n d e x c l u d i n g n o n r e c u r r i n g i t e m s . ------------------------------------------------------------ Please visit http://www.bit.se for further information The following files are available for download: http://www.bit.se/bitonline/1999/07/29/19990729BIT00070/bit0001.doc The full report http://www.bit.se/bitonline/1999/07/29/19990729BIT00070/bit0002.pdf The full report