Manroland Sheetfed owner hopeful on market recovery

By Jo Francis, Wednesday 05 February 2014

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Manroland Sheetfed will roll out ‘the next evolution’ of its presses in 2015, with its owner predicting ‘something of a recovery’ in press sales.

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Langley: next evolution of presses on the way

The press manufacturer’s UK parent group Langley Holdings has just filed its 2013 accounts, with the Manroland Sheetfed business – Langley’s largest division – fully incorporated for the first time since its acquisition in March 2012.

Sales at Manroland Sheetfed fell 9% to €315.2m (£262m), while orders on hand increased from €41.3m to €48.2m.

The business was just in the black last year, posting a pre-tax profit of €3.5m, although Langley Holdings chairman Tony Langley stated that Manroland’s pre-tax contribution to group profits was in the region of €10m prior to inter-group charges. Manroland paid €2.7m interest on inter-company loans.

In his statement accompanying the results, Langley said the decline in sales was due to loss-making activities being discontinued. Under Langley, the Manroland Sheetfed business has been restructured so that it can breakeven if it manufactures just 100 presses a year. Last year it “slightly exceeded” this breakeven production figure.

He said Manroland Sheetfed’s forward order book already accounted for almost 40% of budgeted press production for 2014, with production fully-loaded at the firm's current manning levels although this is only a third of its potential manufacturing capacity.

And, despite the highly-competitive market for new press sales and recent restructuring announcement from KBA, he gave a surprisingly upbeat prediction about future volumes.

“Whereas I do not expect a return to pre-financial crisis business volumes, it is reasonable to expect something of a recovery in the sector,” Langley stated.

“To accommodate this, the business will need skilled labour and a conscious decision was taken at the outset to maintain a high level of apprentice training.”

Manroland Sheetfed employs 1,639 staff, out of a group total of 3,923.

Updated press options are in the pipeline for next year, he said: “…extensive research and development has continued during our stewardship and the next evolution of the company’s presses is expected to be rolled out in 2015.”

The report said that unspecified losses at Manroland’s German operations were offset by positive results from other markets, with the UK cited alongside China, the USA, France, Poland and Brazil.

Mexico, Italy and Switzerland also lost money last year.

The firm’s UK business sold its first new press for 19 months last autumn, when fashion house David Nieper brought printing in-house with a Manroland 704LV HiPrint.

Langley described Manroland’s production processes as “significantly more efficient” following changes last year that included the relocation of packaging and dispatch into the main Offenbach manufacturing site, and the sale of a number of machine tools.

The sale of surplus property assets will bring in €6.2m in cash in Q1 2014.

Boosted by the Manroland Sheetfed results, the overall Langley business is approaching €1bn turnover.

Group sales rose 58% to €834m and it posted a pre-tax profit of €91.4m (2012: €96m excluding €25m non-recurring property gain). The business remains debt-free, and paid a €25m dividend to Langley, who is the sole shareholder. It has €278.6m of cash.

 

 

 

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