German graphite maker SGL Carbon AG recently reported a net profit of
nine million euros ($8.4 million), falling well short of analysts'
expectations and sending the company's shares down over 2%. SGL
Carbon, which made a 38 million euro net loss in 1999 amid provisions
for price-fixing charges, said German accounting rules prevented it
from cutting its tax burden with deferred tax credits on losses at
some subsidiaries. The company, which is switching to International
Accounting Standards (IAS) at mid-year, said annual operating profit
eased 2% to 96 million euros on a sales rise of nearly 30% to 1.26
billion euros. Full-year pre-tax profit came in at 31 million euros
compared to a 43 million-euro loss in 1999. SGL said the operating
profit slip was due to a loss at its fibre and composites division,
which is making heavy investments in new technologies such as fuel
cell components and carbon ceramic brake discs. Operating profit at
the group's other three divisions -- carbon and graphite, specialty
graphite and corrosion protection -- climbed 17% overall.