The review of the current situation and the current strategic position of the company by the new Chairman of the Board of Management, Prof. Dr. Utz Claassen, after he took office has resulted in new insights for the Board of Management into significant potential negative impacts on earnings in 2003. These potential drains on earnings are mostly one-off effects which will only impact liquidity to a limited extent and will not have any lasting operative effects on the core business. They concern, in particular, risks at Salamander, risks relating to Thermoselect, burdens from the investment in Stadtwerke Düsseldorf AG, and various other downward valuations resulting from impairment tests at holdings, provisions for early retirement, and provisions for restructuring measures. In a few cases, the corresponding individual risk is in a three-figure million € range. At the moment, an analysis is under way to ascertain how the individual earnings risks will affect the result in terms of quantity and over time.
In response to these new insights, the Board of Management will take further direct steps to increase the operational efficiency of the company. In addition, the Board of Management will step up the disinvestment activities of the Group. A company-wide freeze on fixed asset investment and new contracts for services has already been initiated. These measures do not, of course, apply to legally stipulated investments or investments in the area of safety.
The Board of Management considers the operational outlook for the Company to be basically unchanged; indeed, the measures already taken should favour the medium-term and long-term development of operations.