THE board of directors of SOL has approved the 2005 consolidated results, prepared according to the new International Accounting Standards (IAS/IFRS) introduced in 2005, compulsory for the preparation of the consolidated accounts of European listed companies.

Consolidated sales €346m (+7,5% vs €321,8m in 2004), EBITDA €76,4m (22,1% on sales, €75,5m in 2004), EBIT €36,2m (10,5% on sales, on the same levels of 2004), consolidated net profit of €17,3m substantially unchanged compared to 2004\\$quot;s result.

Cash flow grew to €56,3m compared to €54,2m in 2004.

\\$quot;The results achieved in 2005 confirmed the positive trend of our group. We shall continue to firm up our presence in the foreign markets, where we are growing in technical gases and home care businesses. These segments represent more than 32 per cent of total turnover of the group, \\$quot; said Marco Annoni, vice president of SOL.

\\$quot;We hope that the 2006 economic situation will be better than the 2005 one, even if we expect a further increase in the cost of energy,\\$quot; concluded Aldo Fumagalli Romario, president of SOL. \\$quot;Our target is to increase the turnover and to maintain the profitability of the group.\\$quot;

At the upcoming shareholders\\$quot; meeting, 28 April 2006, the company\\$quot;s board of directors will propose distribution of a dividend of €0,067 per ordinary share (equal to 2004), to be paid from 18 May 2006.

Despite of the unfavorable macroeconomic scenario the growth of sales is due to the positive trend of the activity both in Italy and abroad, supported by the investments realized.

In the technical gas business, (sales equal to €252,8m) the good results in sales (+5,1%) is due to the increased volume of liquid and compressed gases and to the development of the services offered to the customers.

The home-care business, (sales equal to €102,3m), which the group operates through Vivisol, confirmed the strong trend seen over the last few years (+15,1%). Positive growth of EBITDA to €76,4m compared with €75,5m of 2004, despite the unfavorable macroeconomic scenario and the continuous growing of production and distribution costs, linked to the rising costs of oil and energy. The consolidated net profit of €17,3ml is affected by a tax burden of 43,1% (43,6% in 2004) due to the heavy Italian tax charge.

In financial terms, operating consolidated cash flow amounted to €56,3m compared to €54,2m in 2004, while the net financial debt is €90,7m increased by €15,5m vs 2004 despite of the capital expenditures of the group were €63,3m (CAPEX 18,3%).

In the investments made during 2005 we underline the two new air separation units in Jesenice (Slovenia) and Kavadarci (Macedonia) and the double of the production capacity of the ASU plant in Feluy (Belgium) and the CO2 production plant in Bitola (Macedonia).


The net debt / equity ratio is equal to 36,5%.

SOL is a listed company on the Italian Stock Exchange that acts as a holding company to a multination group of 41 companies, with 1512 employees, involved in the area of technical gases and home-care assistance, operating in 15 European countries.