PRAGUE. MARCH 20. INTERFAX CENTRAL EUROPE - Prague-listed artificial textiles producer Pegas Nonwovens plans to invest about EUR 40 mln into a new production line for specialized goods with high added-value to be launched during the fourth quarter of 2006, the company confirmed Tuesday.
"We will complete the new production line in the fourth quarter of this year," Pegas Nonwovens CEO Milos Bogdan told reporters, adding that the launch of a new production line reflects the company's strategy of focusing on specialized products with higher margin.
Earlier this month, the company announced it would invest more than CZK 1 bln (EUR 28 mln) into its Czech-based production line for upmarket goods and has launched a recruitment drive to attract specialists.
Bogdan said Tuesday that after the launch the company's market share in Europe will increase to more than 11.8% from the current 9.8%.
The company also plans to increase its staff to about 380 in 2008, Bogdan added.
Pegas Nonwovens will set its dividend policy after repaying all debts related to the project, which will be not earlier than in 2008, according to company financial director Ales Gerza.
The company Tuesday announced its net profit in 2006 dropped 22% year on year (y/y) to EUR 20.7 mln due to debt-related costs, while revenues rose by 10% y/y to EUR 120.9 mln on sales of high-margin products, according to the company.
Pegas Nonvowens had an initial public offering (IPO) on the Prague and Warsaw bourses in December 2006.
The company also said it is interested in the Russian market but did not reveal any details.
In the coming years Pegas Nonwovens should be able to concentrate more on high-margin products and expand into Russia and the CEE region, Atlantik FT analyst Petr Novak said in a March 1 report, setting a long-term 'Buy' recommendation for the company.
"In the long term, the most important influence on Pegas' development will be the success of its strategy to tap into the growth of the personal-hygiene nonwovens markets in Europe (mainly in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe)," Novak said.