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29. January 2009

SIMBA DICKIE GROUP enjoys a positive annual result

Gratifying: turnover expectations exceeded – Solid: after the largest company acquisition in its history, the group is concentrating on its core businesses – Creative: impressive innovations at the Nuremberg’s international toy fair.

Fürth – In 2008 the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP exceeded the turnover threshold of half a billion euros. "Including Smoby Toys, the largest acquisition to date in the history of the group, the total consolidated turnover of the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP amounts to Euro 525 million," Managing Director Manfred Duschl confirmed at the toy manufacturer’s annual press conference in Fürth on 29.1.2009.

The share of turnover of the French newcomer to the Group, Smoby Toys, accounts for Euro 120 million. Manfred Duschl was delighted about this positive development. “Due to the extremely protracted bankruptcy phase, there is no doubt that there was a loss of market share during the preliminary stages. If you consider that the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP only received the “acceptance” of the commercial tribunal in Lons le Saunier on 3rd March 2008, a turnover in the order of 120 million euros in the first year was not to be expected.”

Smoby Toys’ turnover aside, the total consolidated turnover of the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP in 2008 was Euro 405 million. This corresponds to an increase of almost 10% (Euro 370 million) against the previous year.

As a result mainly of the currency situation, the turnover of the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP’s domestic companies declined by approximately 10%. On the other hand, the turnover of the two sister companies in Hong Kong increased by over 20%.

With an increase in turnover of approximately 8%, the foreign subsidiaries of the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP made a significant contribution to the satisfying turnover results. With a two-digit growth rate, the subsidiaries in the Middle East, Poland, Rumania and Russia merit a particular mention.

Of the Euro 405 million total turnover of the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP, excluding Smoby Toys, in 2008, Euro 260 million is attributable to foreign business and Euro 145 million to Germany.

International contribution to turnover
The international sales component of the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP not including Smoby Toys represents 64.2% (previous year 62%). There is no change against the previous year with regard to the group’s most important international markets of Spain, France, Holland and England.

Compared with the previous year, BIG’s turnover remained virtually unchanged in 2008 at approximately Euro 20 million. The BIG market segment continues to be difficult. This is a result of the situation as regards procurement and competition, as well as a continuing over-emphasis on the German market. By means of consistent utilisation of capacities and a sales offensive aimed particularly at the international market, we need to continue to stabilise earning power in the long term.

2009 will be dominated by very difficult worldwide macroeconomic conditions. The growth forecasts for virtually all European markets are negative. Bearing this situation in mind and taking into account the investment made in Smoby Toys the previous year, the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP is concentrating on consolidation and stabilisation. Another target is to continue to develop our own very strong product ranges and to concentrate on our own core business areas.
To this end a split has been made or is in the process of being made with business areas that no longer fit into the Group’s strategy, such as Dracco and Giochi Preziosi. Against this background, during the current year the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP plans to maintain the level of total turnover.

Employees
At the end of 2008, the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP employed 1,700 people worldwide. Including the employees of the Chinese joint venture factories, the group currently has more than 3,500 employees.

The greatest increase in staff last year can be attributed to the takeover of the Smoby activities. Smoby Toys brought a total of 600 employees into the company, with approximately 450 of these being employed in France. Whilst the number of employees in Germany and in the two sister companies Simba Toys HK and Dickie Toys HK has remained virtually unchanged against the previous year, the number of employees within individual foreign subsidiaries has risen slightly, quite aside from Smoby Toys.

At the end of 2008 the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP, excluding Smoby Toys, employed approximately 520 people in Germany and 125 people in both Hong Kong companies, in line with the previous year. The other 455 members of staff work for the international subsidiaries abroad.

Earnings and financial situation
The group’s earnings and financial situation continues to be good and solid. In the previous year credit lines were much more heavily drawn on. One reason for this was the purchase of the Smoby group’s assets. Added to this, the working capital for Smoby Toys had to be completely financed by the main companies of the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP in Germany and Hong Kong.
Due to negative experiences with the old Smoby Group, up to the end of last year no French bank was prepared to extend credit lines to the new Smoby Toys company for the financing of the day-to-day business.

Important investments 2008
In 2008 the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP made investments to a value of approx. Euro 50 million.

The lion’s share of these investments was tied in with Smoby Toys. The SIMBA DICKIE GROUP assumed the most important assets of the bankrupt Smoby/Berchet Group and approximately 400 jobs, and brought it into the newly founded Smoby Toys SAS company. This includes the administrative building in Lavans, the factories in Arinthod, Moirans and Grossiat, all tools and machinery and all stocks. In addition the Smoby companies in Hong Kong, Italy and Spain were bought and new Smoby Toys companies were set up in Germany and England. A major proportion of manager and management capacities were focussed on this operation and on the integration of the Smoby Toys organisation into the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP.

Other important investments were:

The setting up of the group's own sales company through the Russian subsidiary in the Ukraine.

Investment in our own offices and warehousing in Dubai with a total area of approx. 3,000 sqm., and in Rumania with a total area of approx. 2,000 sqm.

Investment in transferring the whole group onto SAP. On 1st January 2009, DICKIE TOYS, BIG and Noris were the first German companies within the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP to successfully go on line. They will be joined by the other German companies on 1st May 2009, followed by the foreign subsidiaries.

Investment in new developments, new tools and products.

Investments and measures 2009
In 2009 the process of integrating Smoby Toys into the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP will be continued. Besides consolidating and concentrating on the core business, the following measures and investments are planned.

Setting up a subsidiary in India under Simba Toys Middle East.

Purchase of the Spanish tricycle and doll’s pram manufacturer Picò in Alicante (Spain). Juguetes Picò S.A. is another of the former Smoby Organisation companies, with attractive products and a tremendous amount of experience in the metal working area.

Exclusive collaboration with Rainbow in the area of sales in the German and French markets. Rainbow is a film production and media company which has made its name in Europe as a result of the popularity of the “Winx” dolls. From 2009 Simba will assume exclusive sales rights of Winx dolls in Germany and France.

Investment in more machinery and plants in all of the group's production sites as well as investment in new product developments, own tools and new products.

The investment volume planned for 2009 by the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP is in the order of approximately Euro 20.0 million, of which approx. Euro 7.0 million is to be invested in Germany.

Press contact
Isabel-Weishar (JPG)

Ms. Isabel Weishar

Fon: +49 (0) 911-9763-263
Fax: +49 (0) 911-9763-162

E-Mail: i.weishar@simba-dickie.com