The SOL Group announce a positive trend in its 2004 financial year end consolidated results with a proposed dividend of €0,067.

SOL S.p.A, a listed company on the Italian Stock Exchange acts as a multinational group consisting of 46 companies, with 1,447 employees, involved in the area of technical gases and home-care assistance, operating in 15 European countries.

Its financial results for 2004 were reported as follows:
· Consolidated sales reached €320.8 million, an increase of 7.5% from
€298.5 million on 2003.
· 2004 EBITDA €79.9 million (23.4% on sales, €74.3 million in 2003).
· 2004 EBIT €34.8 million (10.9% on sales, €33.2 million in 2003).
· Consolidated profit before taxation €31 million, an increase of 6% on
€29.3 million in 2003.
· Consolidated net profit 2004 increased 11.4% to €16.9 million.
· Cash flow amounted to €53.9 million, up 7.7% on €50 million in 2003.

In the next shareholders’ meeting to be held on April 29 2005 in Monza, the Board of Directors will propose a dividend of €0,067 per ordinary share, representing a 9.8% increase on 2003.

SOL’s growth in sales was attributed to both its home and international market. By division, the technical gas sector had a 4.4% increase in sales over the 2004 financial year, and in the companies home-care business through Vivisol, confirmed strong sales growth at 17.2%.

Commenting on the Group’s future goals for 2005, Vice-President of SOL S.p.A. Marco Annoni said, “We shall continue to firm up our presence in the foreign markets, where we are growing in technical gases and home care assistance businesses, which represent more than 30% of total turnover of their Group. We forecast a first half 2005 characterised by the difficult and steady economic situation with an expected recovery during the second half of the year. Our target is to increase the turnover and profitability of the Group thanks also to new production plants being operative in the second half of 2005.”