Heidelberg achieves best sales since GFC

The world’s biggest press manufacturer Heidelberg has recorded its best results since 2008 as sales in the final quarter rose by 20 per cent over the previous year.

With a further improvement in the net profit after taxes to €36m (previous year: €28m) – based on preliminary figures – the Group has achieved its stated objective for the year as a whole of a sustained return to profitability. The company says the improvement of nearly €60m in the free cash flow to €24m also underlines the success of the strategic realignment towards a digital company that has been initiated.

“Heidelberg has achieved its targets for 2016/2017 thanks to an excellent final quarter. The net profit after taxes improved once again and we’ve created a solid basis for the company’s further development,” says CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. “We now need to gear our strategy towards becoming a digital company focused on customer needs. This will also bring the expected growth in sales and a further substantial improvement in profitability in the future,” he added.

Australia has made a significant contribution to the figures., with the local company selling five presses in the period. However Heidelberg ANZ has also seen significant job losses, with around a third of staff having to leave as the company continues to recalibrate for the new print market.

Heidelberg Group sales after 12 months were slightly up at €2.524bn (previous year: €2.512bn).

In the final quarter alone, sales increased by just under 20 per cent to €845m (previous year: €710m).

The more substantial growth in sales originally planned for the year as a whole did not materialise due to planned acquisitions being postponed until the new reporting year.

In the period under review, incoming orders of €2.593bn bucked the industry trend by being significantly up on the previous year’s level of €2.492bn).

Despite the costs for the drupa industry trade show of €10m in financial year 2016/2017, EBITDA excluding special items in the reporting period amounted to €179m (previous year: €189m), including non-recurring income of €19m from the PSG takeover. This resulted in an EBITDA margin of 7.1 percent (previous year excluding PSG: 6.8 percent). T

he €85m operating profit (EBITDA before special items) for the fourth quarter was over 20 percent higher than in the same period of the previous year. Special items in the reporting period amounted to some €–18m (previous year: €–21m). Lower interest costs resulted in a further significant improvement in the financial result to €–56m (previous year: €–65m). This led to a net result after taxes of €36m (previous year: €28m). In the final quarter, the net profit after taxes climbed from €35m to €46m.

Following the GFC Heidelberg’s orders plummeted and the company had to be bailed out by state and federal government support. Since then the company has reinvented itself, going into partnerships with digital pioneers such as |Ricoh and Fujifilm. It is on target to launch the world’s first B1 digital inkjet sheetfed press, the Primefire 106.