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Original Source: FD (FAIR DISCLOSURE) WIRE
OPERATOR: Good afternoon, this is the Chorus Call conference call operator. Welcome to the Geberit Group full year results 2007 conference call. As a reminder, all participants are in listen-only mode and the conference is being recorded. After the presentation there will be an opportunity for you to ask questions. (OPERATOR INSTRUCTIONS).
At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Albert Baehny, CEO, accompanied by Mr. Roland Iff, CFO and, Mr. Roman Sidler, Head of Corporate Communications. Please go ahead, gentlemen.
ALBERT BAEHNY, CEO, GEBERIT AG: Thank you for the introduction and good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Geberit's full year '07 conference call. It is my pleasure, together with Roland Iff and Roman Sidler, to present Geberit's 2007 financial results.
The Geberit Group had another strong year in 2007. In an increasingly challenging economic environment, we've clearly exceeded our mid-term goals. Group sales increased by 13.9% to almost CHF2.5b, corresponding to an 11.4% organic growth in local currency.
Operating profit improved by 14.8% to CHF554m. Net income rose by 30.5% to CHF463m. This result was inflated by CHF49m generated through the divestment of the PVC business in the U.K. In 2006, net income rose by 35.5% to CHF355m.
Despite considerably high investments in property, plant and equipment, as well as in working capital, the free cash flow rose by 2% to CHF363m. This figure does not include the proceeds of CHF103m from the sale of the PVC business in the U.K.
We have generated substantial value for our shareholders, with a growth of 31.7% in EPS and the Board's proposal to increase our dividend by share by 30% to CHF5.20.
In the year under review, almost all raw material prices went up, from commodity plastics to industrial metals and specialties. Viewed across the full year, cost of materials increased by 23.4% to CHF783m. On a like-for-like comparison, raw materials prices went up 11%. What's becoming more and more …