Growth engines 'performed well'

Agfa pushes up profits at digital wing

Q3 results reflect challenging economic and geopolitical conditions

Agfa will announce the first customer for its Speedset B1 inkjet press next month.

Alongside its Q3 results, the manufacturer said that progress with the Inca-developed 11,000sph device was on track with beta launch planned for next year, and full commercial availability in 2025.

In Q3 at Agfa’s Digital Print & Chemicals wing, sales of high-end devices were strong, but sales growth was impacted as print firms postponed their investments in low- and mid-range equipment for two reasons: adverse economic conditions, and the expectation that new product launches were on the way.

Ink sales for sign and display and industrial applications were robust.

Agfa’s traditional film business was described as “under pressure” from challenging economic conditions that included adverse currency effects and the weakening economy in China, “and the current geopolitical circumstances”.

However, Agfa said that its actions to increase prices and cut costs at the Digital Print & Chemicals business had “started to bear fruit”.

Gross profit margins at the division increase from 25.6% to 27.7%, on sales up 3.4% (or 6.8% excluding currency) at €99m (£86.25m).

Sales of film, chemicals and support services via its new CONOPS unit (Contractor Operations & Services former Offset) to the now independent ECO3 business were up 11.1% at €18m.

Agfa’s overall sales, including Healthcare IT and Radiology, were down 3.4% at €280m and the business made a bottom line loss of €15m for the period.

CEO Pascal Juéry commented: “I am pleased to see that all growth engines performed well, even in the face of challenging economic and geopolitical conditions as well as adverse currency effects.

“We considerably improved the profitability of the Digital Print activities and the HealthCare IT division. Sales for our Zirfon membranes for green hydrogen production continued to grow strongly and this business also started to contribute to profitability. On the back of good operational performance, we have returned to a positive free cash flow in the third quarter.”