Koenig & Bauer: cost reduction, growth projects and working capital reduction in focus

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At the prestigious pilot customer Klingele in Delmenhorst near Bremen, the production start of the CorruCUT for corrugated board printing and processing is in mid-November

In the first three quarters of 2019, the Koenig & Bauer group achieved an order intake of €843m. The prior-year figure of €943.2m benefited from a major order in security printing which is not usual in this scope. With good proceeds of €292.2m in the third quarter, group revenue increased slightly as compared to the prior year (€788.8m) to €798.2m. President and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann described further details: “In addition to a declining services business in newspaper printing, unexpected project expenses for a major order in security printing, unplanned quality costs and negative mixed effects burdened earnings. Also in view of the considerable increase in economic risks, we have been working intensively in recent months on specific cost reduction programs. The optimisation of the group-wide production and assembly footprint is a focus in this regard.” CFO Mathias Dähn added: “In addition to the active and fast cost structuring, we are pushing our work on innovative products which enable customers to realise tangible added value. Reduction of working capital is also a particular focus.”

6.7% rise in orders in Sheetfed

In addition to the strong services business, more orders for medium-format presses led to growth in order intake in the Sheetfed segment of 6.7% to €460m (2018: €431.3m). Revenue of €407.4m was at the level of the prior year (€409.4m). The good order backlog of €242.5m (2018: €253.6m) ensures continued high capacity utilisation. Due to the product mix and temporarily higher associated quality costs, EBIT of –€2.2m was below the figure from the prior year (€14m).

Slight revenue increase in Digital & Web

For its growth offensive 2023, Koenig & Bauer is relying on innovative products such as the CI flexo printing press Evo XC which provides the customer with a measurable added value

At Digital & Web, order intake of €108m was 3.9% below the prior-year figure of €112.4m. More press sales in newspaper and digital decor printing could not compensate for declining services business in newspaper printing and lower press orders in flexible packaging printing. While revenue increased slightly from €102.8m to €105.4m, order backlog was up significantly from €72.1m to €88.4m. EBIT, burdened by high market-entry and growth-related expenses, was –€15.7m as compared to –€10.8m in the prior year.

3.9% higher revenue in Special

With the future-oriented APL-Robotman technology from group subsidiary Koenig & Bauer Cod-ing, labels can be printed and, with a collaborative robot arm, applied to places not previously reachable in an automated process

In the Special segment, order intake of €305.3m was below the prior-year figure of €428.3m, which was impacted by a major order in security printing. In a highly-competitive environment, the company was not able to succeed in all security printing tender awards. Nevertheless, press orders were in line with planning. Following strong metal decorating orders for large-scale machine lines for 3-piece can decorating in recent years, the dynamic demand has calmed recently. By contrast, the company was able to achieve significant order growth in glass and hollow container decorating. Revenue was up from €299m to €310.7m. EBIT was at €13.1m after €25.3m in the prior year as a result of the product mix and the unexpected project expenses for the major order in security printing. At €339.1m, order backlog and capacity utilisation are at a high level (2018: €460.3m).

President and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann: “The achievement of our annual targets 2019 – organic revenue growth in the Group of around 4% and an EBIT margin of around 6% – has become significantly more challenging in this demanding market environment with weaker order intake in the third quarter. With the currently high capacity utilisation, target achievement is subject to the scheduled order processing, the booking of expected orders and the timely effect of the cost reduction measures that have been initiated.“