Agfa UK upbeat on H1 results

Jo Francis
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Agfa’s worldwide wide-format inkjet business posted double-digit growth in Q2, while its UK wing has reported “positive” trading conditions overall in the first half.

The Graphics division’s worldwide results were held back by competitive pressures in the offset market. Second-quarter sales at the Graphics wing, Agfa’s largest division, were down 3.7% to €309m (£285m), while EBITDA fell by 20.8% to €22.9m. Agfa said gross margins had been affected by raw material price rises.

Half-year sales at Graphics were down 3% at €609m, with EBITDA down 20.1% at €42.8m.

The company cited a strong performance from its Anapurna range and a “substantial” increase in ink volumes as highlights, along with the launch of the Jeti Tauro H2500 LED UV printer, which was described as the new flagship in its UV portfolio.

Agfa said it had secured important new contracts at customers around the world for its chemistry-free plate offering, and said that aspect of the business continued to perform well, despite overall competitive pressures in offset plates.

In the UK, managing director Eddie Williams said it had been a positive six months overall. “We’ve extended our contracts at News UK and Johnston Press, and there has been no drop in overall plate volumes based on last year, which might seem surprising.

“Our inkjet business is above budget and the order intake for the new Jeti is really encouraging,” he added.

Williams also said that he was expecting “significant growth” in sales of the firm’s new Apogee Cloud solution.

“Our biggest problem is currency and aluminium,” he noted.

Agfa president and chief executive officer Christian Reinaudo described the interims as “a decent set of results”, excluding the negative impacts of reorganising its Healthcare division’s hardcopy distribution channels in China.

Healthcare posted EBITDA of €32.1m on sales of €264m in Q2, down 26.9% and 4.7% respectively.

Agfa’s board has also tasked management with finding ways that it could potentially put its HealthCare IT activities into a standalone legal entity.

It’s not clear whether, if successful, this could potentially revive the takeover talks with CompuGroup Medical SE that stalled last year.

Sales at Agfa’s Specialty Products division, which includes synthetic paper, classic film products, and conductive materials, were up 3.4% to €49m while EBITDA was down 11.6% to €6.1m.

Group half-year sales were down 3% at €1.21bn, with EBITDA falling by 21.4% to €99m.

Restructuring costs were €2m, whereas the prior year figures had been flattered by a €10m gain on property sales in Korea.

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