Pricer: Interim Report, January - March 2002 (with link)

Uppsala, SWEDEN


UPPSALA, Sweden, April 25, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Pricer:



-    Fully subscribed new share issue will contribute SEK 109.7M to the
     company before guarantee and issue costs

-    Increased orders received SEK 22.7M (12.4)

-    Order from Metro for at least SEK 12.8M

-    Increased net sales SEK 17.7M (8.3)

-    Improved gross margin 20 per cent (1)

-    Improved operating result SEK -13.1M (-20.2)

-    Liquid funds SEK 46.9M (144.8) (before issue payment)

Significant events after the end of the reporting period:


-    Another Metro order for at least SEK 14M

-    Previously blocked deposits of approximately SEK 24M at Pricer's
     disposal

-    Final settlement of the liability to Telxon.

Operations

Orders received during the quarter amounted to SEK 22.7M (12.4) an increase of 83 per cent compared with the same period in the previous year. Pricer received an order for at least SEK 12.8M from the German retail chain, Metro, relating to a new store concept. The company also received an order from its Japanese partner, Ishida. In the Swedish market, Pricer received orders for eight stores during the first quarter.

At the period end, the backlog amounted to SEK 330M (32). The majority of Pricer's orders are made in USD and currency fluctuations affect the value of the backlog in SEK.

A significant proportion of the programme to restructure operations and make them more efficient, which was agreed in an extensive action programme in November 2001, was implemented during the first quarter. The sales organisation in France was strengthened and a larger proportion of sales and marketing have since been carried out under Pricer's management. In line with the action programme, the measures are expected to make an impact during the second half of 2002.

Pricer continues to develop the ESL system and during the first quarter a microbasestation, a maxilabel (HM) and the concept of backlighted signs, were introduced. The microbasestation is developed in order to lower the cost for the customer at smaller installations. The last two products intends to increase readability and informationvalue for the consumers.

Market

During this period the growth of the market has continued with more installations and interest of the company's products. The largest exhibition in Europe for the retail industry, Euroshop in Dusseldorf in February, gave further indications of a positive trend.

Net sales and results

Net sales for the quarter amounted to SEK 17.7M (8.3), more than double the sales compared with the same period in the previous year. The majority of the deliveries related to the Japanese market.

The gross result improved compared with the first quarter in the previous year and amounted to SEK 3.6M (0.1). The gross profit margin was significantly strengthened and amounted to 20 per cent (1).

Operating expenses amounted to SEK 16.7M (20.3). Operating expenses excluding one-off costs amounted to SEK 16.7M (16.3). In line with the aforementioned action programme, the measures are expected to make an impact during the second half of 2002.

The operating result improved compared with 2001 and amounted to SEK -13.1M (-20.2).

Financial income and expenses for the period was SEK -0.6M and the net result amounted to SEK -13.7M (-23.2).

Net sales and operating result in the ESL operations, SEK M



                       Jan-Mar 2002    Jan-Mar 2001
Net sales                      17.7             8.3
Cost of sold goods            -14.1            -8.2
Gross result                    3.6             0.1
Expenses                      -16.7           -20.3
Operating result              -13.1           -20.2
Gross margin %                 20 %             1 %

Financial position

The cash flow from current operations was SEK -24.6 (-20.4). Liquid funds amounted to SEK 46.9M (144.8). The issue payment is provided to the company during April. Disposable liquid funds, i.e. liquid funds excluding blocked bank deposits and including an unutilised bank overdraft facility, amounted to SEK 26.3M (122.6) at 31 March 2002. Liquid funds of approximately SEK 24M, which in accordance with the agreement of the sale of Intactix were placed in a blocked bank account as a security for potential agreement undertakings, were released at Pricer's disposal after the end of the reporting period.

A new share issue with right of preference for the company's shareholders was subscribed for in full. After the end of the reporting period, SEK 109.7M will be contributed to the company before issue and guarantee costs of approximately SEK 16.6M. These were originally estimated at approximately SEK 14.5M. The Board of Directors is of the opinion that the payment from the proposed new share issue will meet Pricer's capital requirement until the operations generate a positive cash flow. This is expected to be achieved during the first half of 2004.

Expenses for the divestment of Intactix were charged to the cash flow of investment operations, but not the result, by SEK 0.2M during the first quarter. Costs of approximately SEK 7M remain for the phasing out of the Intactix Group. These have been entered as a liability.

The tax authority has announced a changed assessment relating to VAT on issue costs, SEK 3.4M, which were declared in 1999 in accordance with the opinion of the National Tax Board applicable at that time. Pricer has appealed against the decision and has not entered the amount as a liability. Should the decision of the highest court be the same as that of the tax authority, Pricer will report the amount directly against equity.

Capital expenditure

Total capital expenditure for the first quarter amounted to SEK 0.2M (0.2) and related mainly to machinery and tools.

Personnel

During the quarter, the average number of employees amounted to 42 (45) whereas the number at 31 March 2002 amounted to 40 (45).

Parent company

The parent company's net sales for the first quarter amounted to SEK 17.3M (8.2) and the result before appropriations was SEK -13.8M (-18.1). Capital expenditure amounted to SEK 0.2M (0.2). The parent company's liquid funds amounted to SEK 19.6M (115.2) at 31 March 2002.

Accounting principles

This Interim Report has been prepared in accordance with the Swedish Financial Accounting Standards Council's recommendation RR20 Interim Reports.

Compared with the Annual Report for 2001, the following new recommendations have been applied from 1 January 2002: RR 1:00 consolidated accounts, RR15 Intangible fixed assets, RR 16 provisions, contingent liabilities and assets, and RR17 write-downs. The application of these recommendations has not had any significant impact on the company's results and position.

Significant events after the end of the reporting period

Liquid funds of approximately SEK 24M, which in accordance with the agreement of the sale of Intactix were placed in a blocked bank account as a security for potential agreement undertakings, were released at Pricer's disposal after the end of the reporting period.

The last remaining payment to Telxon as final settlement to the agreement was made in April.

Metro has placed an order at the value of at least 14 MSEK regarding battery changes and accessories of existing systems. The order will be delivered during a three-year period with start in August this year.

Forecast

In line with increasing sales, the action programme is aimed at achieving an increasingly rapid improvement in the operating result by significantly reducing the fixed costs. It is difficult to assess the continued market trend.

The Board of Directors is of the opinion that the payment from the new share issue will meet Pricer's capital requirement until the operations generate a positive cash flow. This is expected to be achieved during the first half of 2004.

This forecast is unchanged from the Year-End Report for 2001.

Next reporting date

The Interim Report for January-June 2002 will be published on 28 August 2002.

Uppsala, 25 April 2002 Pricer AB (publ)

Jan Forssjo President

This Report has not been the subject of examination by the Auditors.


For further information, please contact:
Jan Forssjo, President of Pricer AB:
+46 18-18 81 00

Pricer AB (publ) was founded in Uppsala in 1991 and has built a leading position in the world market as a supplier of electronic display and information systems to the retail industry. Pricer offers electronic information systems intended to improve significantly customer benefit and improve retail profitability. Through Pricer's cooperation with highly competent partners, customers are offered a totally integrated solution together with the products, applications and services offered by our partners. The Pricer share is quoted on the O-list of OM Stockholm Exchange. For further information, please visit Pricer's website www.pricer.se. Registration to receive news releases automatically via e-mail can be made through the website.

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 www.waymaker.net/bitonline/2002/04/25/20020425BIT01290/wkr0001.doc
 The Full Report

 www.waymaker.net/bitonline/2002/04/25/20020425BIT01290/wkr0002.pdf
 The Full Report