Order intake in the six months to 30 June was down 16.2% at €480.2m (£434m), while sales fell by more than €100m to €404.5m (2019: €506m). Order backlog was down 10% at €609m.
Every division posted an EBIT loss, with the net loss for the period coming in at €44.2m compared to a H1 net loss of €2.4m last year.
However, the group said that despite the red ink EBIT had “improved substantially” in Q2, reducing from a loss of €34.9m to a €6m loss, helped in part by a one-off €4.2m gain after a legal dispute with a commercial agent was resolved.
CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann commented: “The restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic particularly impeded deliveries of the presses to the international customers as well as the worldwide deployment of the assembly staff and service technicians.”
Work on a large security printing project in Egypt has been suspended since March with no restart date in sight as yet, and the planned start-up of RotaJet digital printing systems for customers in décor and beverage carton printing has also been delayed.
Bolza-Schünemann said that the virus situation meant it was not currently possible to issue guidance for the full year.
He said the group continued to work “intensively” on its Performance 2024 efficiency programme.
The number of people on the manufacturer’s payroll as at 30 June was 5,661, down from 5,725 the prior year.
K&B’s application for a government-backed support loan of up to €120m means it cannot pay dividends until that is paid back.
Bolza-Schünemann also described the recent K&B Live virtual event, held in lieu of Drupa, as “a complete success”.
Separately, K&B has just launched a new remote support app for customers, which is likely to become an increasingly important service offering because of the pandemic.
Visual PressSupport uses a video streaming service. It allows live videos to be sent directly from a mobile device to the hotline technician during remote maintenance.
The customer’s operator or technician and K&B’s experts can both apply markers to the images that are captured, to help pinpoint any required actions.
“The success rate of classic remote maintenance methods currently used is 80%. It is expected to grow further with Visual PressSupport,” K&B stated.