News:Argos:Q4 2007 Wienerberger AG Earnings Presentation (Vienna) - about Eastern Emerging Markets



The second most important country in Central and Eastern Europe is the Czech Republic, a positive development. Not as spectacular as in Poland, but both countries, Poland and the Czech Republic had to import products to meet local demand. Products were imported from Germany, both directly and indirectly.

Another point needs to be made in this context. We have prepared further steps in the field of product development. We started in the Czech Republic and we are continuing in other countries. Very high quality brick products are being introduced in these markets, particularly in the Czech Republic and of course also precision ground bricks, which are being produced and marketed successfully in that region.

Slovakia of course a much smaller market than the two I mentioned before, but a market with a very strong development. In recent years major foreign direct investments have gone to Slovakia, particularly to the Western part of the country. And this led to job creation, generated additional income and demand for housing arose on that basis. That had always been our assumption. And this is exactly what is happening in Slovakia. So we can see a very successful development there as well. So for this year we expect further growth starting from a very high level already.

A country that worries us to a certain extent is Hungary. There is a great deal of uncertainty due to budget consolidation and austerity measures. Real incomes are not growing. And construction activities are sluggish, there has been a decline to a certain extent even.

Nevertheless we were able to operate our plants to capacity. We used the opportunity to export products to Romania and also to Ukraine. So nevertheless it's a satisfying development, particularly the fact that our plants are working to full capacity there.

In Romania growth continued according to our expectations. The Sibiu plant had been modernized and expanded. And a new plant is being built, or was built in Triteni which was started up in the third quarter of 2007. And it will be fully operational this year. And on that basis we can further strengthen our position in Romania.

Bulgaria, in 2005 and 2006 we had already started developing the market with imported products. We set up a local organization. And the Lukovit plant became operational in the second half of last year. It has a capacity of 2.5m NF when fully operational. Start up was successful. And the first months of this year show that our expectations will be met. The plant is doing well. We can strengthen our position in the Bulgarian market. And we are confident that both Romania and Bulgaria will continue to contribute essentially to our results.

The smaller countries, and I'd also like to mention Austria in this context, not a very spectacular development. Croatia and Slovenia do show a positive market development but a considerable amount of surplus capacity. So we are focused on the higher quality segment. Quantities declined to a certain result, but our results improved also in these two countries.

Serbia, last year we set up an organization in Serbia. We developed a market position, both imported products, at the same time we are moving into this market through acquisitions. We acquired a small plant in Mali Idjos in the northwest of Serbia between Belgrade and the Hungarian border. This will allow us to serve a very well-developed market and extension measures are being prepared. Currently we are optimizing the plant...

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