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2005 PRESS RELEASES

 

PRESS RELEASE


2004 STAR and techSTAR Company Results
Together for the first time, the STAR and techSTAR companies
present their 2004 results to analysts and investors
STAR and techSTAR companies confirmed as the most liquid in Europe

The STAR and techSTAR companies meet the Italian and international financial community on Wednesday and Thursday 2/3 March.

The event is organised by Borsa Italiana in order to give analysts and investors the opportunity to discuss the results achieved and the future prospects of high standard Italian small and mid caps. In addition to presentations of the companies, to be carried out in parallel sessions, over five hundred one-on-one meetings have already been scheduled.

STAR and techSTAR will meet with international investors again next September, in London.

STAR, the high standard mid cap segment of Borsa Italiana, debuted in 2001 with 20 companies, and today it counts over 45.

TechSTAR, the high standard sector for companies of the Nuovo Mercato, recorded its first dealings in spring 2004 and currently includes 24 stocks.

Since 31 January 2005, the STAR, techSTAR and All STARS indices have been introduced, tracked continuously and free- float weighted. The latter, which includes all stocks of the two baskets, may provide an adequate benchmark for operators interested in quality Italian small and mid caps, in addition to providing an overview of high standard small and mid caps.

The analysis of trading data over the last three years confirms a liquidity record for STAR and techSTAR companies in Europe.

For each of the capitalisation classes considered, the companies recorded average daily trading levels 30% higher than those of the most liquid corresponding European companies.

Since 2002, liquidity has grown at a rate of 30% per year and in 2005, simultaneously with the introduction of the All-Stars, STAR and TECHSTAR indices, it has more than doubled.

However, in addition to liquidity, good performance is also reflected in share value growth.

Total capitalisation of the STAR/TECHSTAR companies increased from 11 to 17 billion euros (with median size at 169 million euros and average at 243), up 17% annually.

Over the last three years, corporate fundamentals have also been improving.

In 2004, as in 2003, analysis of aggregate data shows a growth in revenues of about 3 billion euros, equal to a tendential growth rate, over the last two-year period, of 17%, at the same level as capitalisation.

In 2004, this trend involved 82% of the companies, while between 2002 and 2004, 92% of companies ended at least one year with growth results.

The aggregate gross operating margin grew an average of 26% per year, representing 11.7% of total revenues. This is a widespread trend as well, with 88% of companies reporting rising margins.

In 2004, the average size of STAR/TECHSTAR companies reached 366 million in revenues (median of 163 million), while the average gross operating margin was equal to 43 million (median of 27).

Shares of the companies recorded brilliant performance, which was reflected in the constant progress demonstrated by the indices: All STARS grew 12% in 2003, 15.9% in 2004 and 10.6% during the first two months of 2005 (data as at 1/3/2005); STAR recorded an increase of 11.8% in 2003 and 19.3% in 2004, and has gained 10.8% since the beginning of the year; techSTAR recorded a performance of 22.8% during 2003, 4.3% in 2004 and growth of 17% since the beginning of 2005.

Milan, 2 March 2005


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