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Esko enjoys strong business performance

September 12, 2006

Esko, a leader in packaging prepress products based in Gent, Belgium, announces a continued strong business performance during the second quarter of 2006, with consolidated net revenues increasing by 17 percent compared with the first quarter, and by 7.5 percent compared with the second quarter of last year.

For the total first half of 2006, Esko's consolidated packaging business increased by 15 percent over the same period in 2005, whereas EBIT has more than quadrupled. In addition to the EBIT increase, the net working capital at the end of the second quarter further decreased compared to Q1 and to last year, contributing to a healthy cash flow situation.

The first half of 2006 saw all regions and product lines performance above expectations and above last years' results, according to Carsten Knudsen, president and CEO. Revenues from the European, North American and Asian markets all grew by around 15 percent year-over-year. Sales for Esko's Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI) product line in the second quarter doubled compared to an already strong first quarter. Compared with the first half of 2005, flexo CtP business increased by 40 percent.

"We are very pleased to see our business growth confirmed again in the second quarter of 2006," says Knudsen. "It is clear that buyers, designers and providers of packaging products and services are embracing our approach to offer integrated solutions to the packaging supply chain. The new solutions and products we have introduced earlier this year have been welcomed with great enthusiasm and have further fueled sales and selling cycles."
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