EANS-Adhoc: BENE AG / In 2008/09 Bene again achieves record sales. Signs of the international financial crisis perceptible.

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  • Consolidated sales increased by 5.1% to EUR 265.3 million
  • Solid balance sheet structure: Equity ratio reaches 46.8%
  • Clearly positive operating cash flow

Vienna/Waidhofen an der Ybbs, May 14, 2008. After the big growth jump in the business year 2007/08, the Vienna Prime Market listed Bene AG (ISIN AT00000BENE6) again increased its sales in the past business year (February 1, 2008 to January 31, 2009) by 5.1% to EUR 265.3 million and therewith further strengthened its position in almost all markets.

With a considerable sales increase, the international specialist for office and working environments again exceeded the record sales of the business year 2007/08. As clear market leader in Austria Bene improved sales in its home market by EUR 1.5 million or 2.0% to EUR 76.7 million. In an overall difficult economic environment, sales in Germany reached EUR 70.5 million in the past business year (+7.5%). Also the Bene Group could not escape the impacts of the financial market crisis in the UK. It had to record a decline in sales by 38.0% to EUR 21.5 million. The Russia segment showed a clearly better performance and closed the business year 2008/09 with record sales of EUR 39.8 million (plus 32.0%). In the past business year, the "other markets" segment likewise considerably increased sales to EUR 56.8 million (plus 21.0%).

Against the background of the difficult economic conditions, which as from the fourth quarter also showed their effects on Bene, the Bene Group had to record a drop in the earnings figures. In the business year 2008/09, earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) decreased by EUR 3.8 million to EUR 11.4 million. The EBIT-margin reached 4.3% (2007/08: 6.0%).

Bene still has a solid balance sheet structure. Despite major investments, as of January 31, 2009, the balance sheet total of EUR 145.6 million only marginally exceeded the previous year´s reference value. The equity ratio reached 46.8% (January 31, 2008: 48.7%). As of January 31, 2009, the Group´s equity including minority interests amounted to EUR 68.1 million (January 31, 2008: EUR 69.2 million).

On the balance sheet date, the Bene Group occupied 1,518 employees worldwide. This corresponds to an increase of 88 employees or 6.2% in comparison with the prior year.

Due to the worldwide lasting negative economic prospects, the Management Board will propose to the shareholders´ meeting on June 3, 2009 not to pay any dividend for the reporting period in order to further consolidate the Bene AG´s capital strength.

The expectations with regard to the business year 2009/10 are essentially characterised by the worldwide economic crisis. Hence, the Management Board´s focus lies on ensuring the liquidity as well as on a stable financing resp. balance sheet structure. This also serves to be able to successfully pursue the operating business and the implementation of the strategy.

Among others, this report contains statements on potential future developments, which were made on the basis of currently available information. Such statements, which reflect the current assessment of future events by the Management Board, cannot be construed as guarantees for future performance and bear unforeseeable risks and uncertainties. There may be a variety of reasons for actual results and conditions to diverge from the assumptions, on which the statements were based.

The annual report 2008/09 is available under http://bene.com.

end of announcement euro adhoc

emitter: BENE AG Schwarzwiesenstrasse 3 A-3340 Waidhofen/Ybbs phone: +43/7442/500-0 FAX: +43/7442/500-3380 mail: office@bene.com WWW: www.bene.com sector: Furnishings & Furniture ISIN: AT00000BENE6 indexes: ATX Prime stockmarkets: official market: Wien language: English

Rückfragen & Kontakt:

Investor Relations
Gerald Strohmaier
Head of Finance & Investor Relations
A-3340 Waidhofen/Ybbs
Schwarzwiesenstraße 3
Tel. +43-7442-500-3372

Public Relations
Ursula Grabher
Head of Public Relations
A-1010 Wien
Renngasse 6
Tel. +43-1-534 26-1265