Heidelberg reiterates growth targets despite sales slip


Heidelberg chief executive Rainer Hundsdörfer has described his €3bn turnover target as “increasingly within our grasp”, despite the group posting a drop in sales its preliminary results.

For the 2017/18 financial year ended 31 March, group sales were €2.42bn (£2.13bn), down €104m on the prior year. Heidelberg said this was mainly due to negative exchange rates, “and the deliberate avoidance of trading activities in low-margin remarketed equipment”.

Incoming orders were €2.588bn (2016/17: €2.593bn), which the company said was encouraging in a post-Drupa year.

Hundsdörfer said the business had made “excellent progress with its digital transformation” during the period.

“Both our new subscription model and the new digital presses are in high demand. Given that this will be reflected in the company’s sales and result to an ever-greater extent in the years ahead following the current start-up phase, our medium-term targets will be increasingly within our grasp,” he said.

EBITDA slipped from €179m to €172m, while restructuring costs were €16m. Net profit after tax was €14m, once a €25m charge due to the US tax reform charges was taken into account. Without the US charge the net profit would have been €3m higher than the prior year's figure of €36m. 

Heidelberg reiterated its goal of achieving a net profit after tax of over €100m by 2020.

The manufacturer stated that it had in excess of 30 customers in its sights for its new subscription model, which should generate circa €150m over the five-year business model of the subs offering. In addition, the Primefire and Labelfire digital presses have now entered series production, which is expected to deliver “an increasingly positive impact on sales”.

Chief financial officer Dirk Kaliebe also said that the firm remained on the lookout for further potential acquisitions on the back of the revamp of its finance facilities.

Heidelberg shares slipped by 2% to €3.19 after the announcement.

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