Koenig & Bauer reports strong start to year

Jo Francis
Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Koenig & Bauer has reported a big jump in orders for sheetfed presses in Q1 thanks to “sharp growth in the more pandemic resistant packaging printing market”.

Demand for large-format sheetfed presses for packaging has increased
Demand for large-format sheetfed presses for packaging has increased

In the three months to 31 March overall orders increased by 5.3% to €286m (£248m). Although group sales were down 7.8% at €243.5m, K&B said that this was still a better performance than the industry average according to figures from the VDMA association.

At the manufacturer’s Sheetfed division order intake jumped by 20.6% to €193.1m, boosted by demand for large-format packaging presses and post-press equipment. 

CEO Andreas Pleßke said that customers’ spending reticence was “beginning to dissipate in many areas”, although some investments – in particular in digital décor, corrugated board printing and metal decorating – were being postponed because of uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 situation. 

“The end markets that we address and particularly also the structurally growing packaging printing segment are fundamentally intact,” he stated, and said that K&B’s broad product range would result in further market expansion beyond the packaging arena. 

EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) losses for the quarter reduced from €17m to €8.9m, and K&B said it expected to break even at the EBIT level for the full year, with sales expected to grow by 4% to €1.07bn.

The group said the Q1 EBIT improvement on the prior year was mainly due to its P24x efficiency programme, reduced functional costs as well as the use of short-time working.

Order intake in the Digital & Webfed division was “heavily impacted” by the Covid-19 pandemic and declined by 46.1% to €23.5m, while orders in the Special business unit (including banknote, hollow container printing and metal decorating) were effectively flat at €73.4m.

K&B’s share price rose by 4.6% to €25 on the news. 


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