In the first half-year 2003, Ascom achieved important objectives in the context of the restructuring. In spite of difficult market conditions, in the core areas Ascom succeeded in clearly improving the operating result with almost stable revenue, and in increasing incoming orders. During recent months the company further reduced the net debts – primarily through divestments. Ascom succeeded in almost halving the Group loss compared with the first half-year 2002. The accumulated losses largely result from areas that have been sold or extensively restructured, or which are in the restructuring phase. As of the balance sheet date 30.6.2003, Ascom Holding Ltd has shareholders' equity of CHF 176 million and the Ascom Group possesses liquid assets of CHF 250 million.
After successful focussing of the Ascom Group, it now consists of the four core areas Transport Revenue, Security Solutions, Network Integration and Wireless Solutions. A positive indication for the future development of the company is that these areas were able to increase their incoming orders by 5.5% compared with the first half-year 2002 in spite of continuing difficult market conditions. The four core areas achieved revenues in the first half-year 2003 of CHF 493 million, which in spite of difficult market conditions adjusted for currency is only CHF 5 million (or 1%) below the comparison figure of the previous year. Overall the Group achieved revenues in the first half-year 2003 of CHF 833 million (previous year CHF 1,093 million). The reduction in revenue of CHF 260 million reduces to CHF 86 million or 9.1% when adjusted for the effects of currency translations and divestments. The main part of this decrease in revenue stems from the non-core areas Energy Systems, Manufacturing and Payphones.
Improved operating resultThe core areas of Ascom closed the first half-year 2003 with an operating result improved by CHF 24 million to CHF 25 million. The Group's operating loss stands at a total of CHF (25) million. Thus compared with the first half-year 2002, the operating loss in the period under review decreased by CHF 9 million, compared with the second half-year 2002 even by CHF 48 million. Almost half of the loss of CHF (39) million in non-core areas result from Energy Systems (CHF (17) million) which has in the meantime been sold. A further CHF (15) million are related to restructuring costs in the Payphones, Manufacturing and Powerline Communications areas, and CHF (7) million stem from operating losses in these areas.
All core areas with positive operating resultAll strategic core areas of the Group closed the period under review with a positive operating result. Ascom Transport Revenue achieved a marked improvement in the operating result. In the first half-year 2003 the core area achieved an operating result of CHF 2 million (previous year's loss: CHF (15) million) with a decrease in revenue of some 7%. Ascom Security Solutions improved the operating result to CHF 7 million (previous year: CHF 6 million) with a decrease in revenue of some 23% and hence fulfilled result expectations. In spite of an investment reluctance in the market, with revenue of CHF 162 million Ascom Network Integration succeeded in maintaining the previous year's level and closed the period under review positively with an operating resultof CHF 1 million (previous year: CHF (1) million). Ascom Wireless Solutions increased the operating result by 36% to CHF 15 million (previous year: CHF 11 million) with an increase in revenue of some 13% .
Non-core areas with negative operating resultThe areas that do not belong to the core business (PBX and others, Co-operation) closed the first half-year with a loss of CHF (39) million. PBX (Ascotel) improved the operating result in a half-year comparison by CHF 7 million to CHF (2) million. The contract for the sale of PBX to theCanadian purchaser Aastra Technologies Limited and was closed on 31.8.2003 after closure of the period under review.
In a difficult market, Energy Systems closed with a negative operating result of CHF (17) million (previous year: CHF (5) million. Following the closing of the sale to Delta Electronics Public Company Limited on 30.6.2003, the area will no longer be consolidated in the second half-year 2003.