Value creation drive implemented

Heidelberg cuts costs amid weak economic climate

Speedmaster XL 106 that runs at 21,000sph will be among Heidelberg's Drupa exhibits

Heidelberg has stuck with its forecasts for the full-year despite a “significantly weaker” Q3, with the manufacturer bringing in short-time working at some sites as a result.

The Germany-headquartered group said that orders had been impacted by the weak economic environment, especially in EMEA and North America, high interest rates, and also by customers holding off on ordering new kit while they wait to see what the upcoming Drupa expo will bring.

Among other innovations, Heidelberg will show its new 21,000sph Speedmaster XL 106 Highspeed at the show, which kicks off at the end of May.

Sales for the nine month period ending 31 December 2023 were €1.686bn (£1.44bn), boosted by sales of equipment for the packaging market.

Heidelberg said that this was on a par with the prior year’s €1.729bn sales figure when exchange rate differences were taken into account.

Adjusted operating profit rose from €125m to €135m.

In Q3, incoming orders were “significantly weaker”, down 19.4% year-on-year at €630m.

The group’s share price fell to a new 52-week low of €1.01 on the news (52-week high: €2.00).

However, CEO Dr Ludwin Monz said that Heidelberg had “held its own” despite the weak macroeconomic climate.

In January Heidelberg brought in short-time working at several production sites and other parts of its operations although the number of workers involved was not disclosed.

A spokesperson told Printweek: “As we are constantly adapting the use of short-time working to operational requirements at several locations, it is difficult to predict the exact extent.

“Short-time working is currently planned and approved for three months.”

A new cost saving ‘value creation’ programme involves some 250 initiatives that will be actioned over the course of three years, helping to boost cashflow.

CFO Tania von der Goltz commented: “Heidelberg is facing up to the changed underlying conditions, acting quickly to counter rising costs and the weaker order situation.

“What’s more, the value creation program will already make a positive contribution to free cash flow amounting to around €60 million in this financial year,” she said.

The group has stuck with its forecasts and still expects full-year sales and adjusted EBITDA margin to be at the same level of the prior year, at €2.435bn and 7.2%.