Creo has strong financial year

For the 2003 fourth quarter, revenue was US$150.3m up, nine per cent from US$138.4m in the same quarter last year and up five per cent from US$143.5m in the prior quarter. During the fourth quarter of 2003, Creo recorded GAAP net earnings of US$2.4m or five cents per diluted share, compared to net earnings of US$0.6m or one cent per diluted share in the 2002 fourth quarter and US$2.8m or five cents per diluted share in the prior quarter. Adjusted earnings were US$3.6m or seven cents per diluted share in the 2003 fourth quarter compared to US$2.8m or six cents per diluted share in the 2002 fourth quarter and US$3.6m or seven cents per diluted share in the prior quarter.

For the year ended September 30, 2003, revenue was US$578m, an increase of seven per cent from US$539.9 million for the same period in 2002. Also for the year ended September 30, 2003, GAAP earnings were US$5.5m or 11 cents per diluted share compared to a loss of US$24.3m or 49 cents per share for the same period in 2002.Adjusted earnings were US$12.5m or 25 cents per diluted share in fiscal 2003, compared to adjusted earnings of US$0.1m or breakeven per diluted share for the same period in 2002.

Amos Michelson, Creo CEO, says, “Creo closed its fiscal year with the highest quarterly revenue in over two years, while recording annual growth in both revenue and profitability. In the fourth quarter, our results reflected the seasonal strength of our digital printing business with Xerox, as well as improved sales in the Americas and continued growth in Asia-Pacific. For the fiscal year, revenue in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific was well above last year, due to improved sales as well as foreign currency gains.

“Our campaign to expand the market for our computer-to-plate solutions and penetrate the commercial market of small to mid-sized printers gained traction through the year against tough competition. As planned, our consumables bundling strategy has helped maintain our gross margins in the Americas. We intend to capitalize on the recent launch of Creo’s digital printing plate to strengthen margins and to build our market share in all regions. Creo can now provide complete solutions, including our own plates and proofing materials, for all sizes of printers.

“We aim to increase the recurring portion of our revenue from digital media as we expand sales of plates, proofing ink and paper. Our key priorities for the next year are to continue to penetrate our targeted growth markets and regions, focus on growth products, roll out our digital media strategy worldwide, and control costs to achieve our operating goals.”

According to Mark Dance, Creo CEO and CFO, the company expects revenue in the first fiscal quarter to be similar to that of the fourth quarter, as strength in EMEA, Asia-Pacific and its digital printing business with Xerox is likely to be offset by a temporary lag in the Americas
“Our growth next year will be driven by the execution of our digital media strategy, and we will continue to adjust our cost structure to improve our competitiveness and to respond to currency exchange fluctuations,” says Dance.

For the fiscal first quarter ending December 31, 2003, Creo expects revenue between US$148m and US$153m. The company is forecasting GAAP earnings per diluted share between 19 and 25 cents for the 2004 fiscal first quarter. The guidance for the 2004 fiscal first quarter includes the one-time impact from the Printcafe equity transaction.

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