Koenig & Bauer targets further growth in 2023

Jo Francis
Thursday, March 30, 2023

Koenig & Bauer has posted full-year sales at the top end of expectations, with better than expected EBIT despite challenging trading conditions.

Annual report has been printed on a RotaJet inkjet web
Annual report has been printed on a RotaJet inkjet web

The Germany headquartered press manufacturer posted group revenues up 6.3% at €1.186bn for 2022. EBIT of €22m, while lower than the prior year, exceeded the forecast of €15m-€20m. 

Koenig & Bauer noted that the previous year’s EBIT figure of €28.5m had been boosted by around €23m through its P24x efficiency and restructuring programme, and said its underlying operating profitability had been “substantially” improved. 

At the end of last year order intake was up 3% on 2021, at €1.329bn, while the order backlog was €950.4m. 

The group has chosen the theme of ‘Metamor[e]phosis’ as the motto for its annual report and accounts, with the physical copies of the R&A printed on a RotaJet inkjet web press, featuring unique variable elements for each cover. 

CEO Dr Andreas Pleßke stated: “Our performance last year shows that we are headed in the right direction for sustainable growth. We were able to post increases in all key performance indicators.”

Sheetfed, K&B’s biggest division, posted revenues of €672.2m, up from €642.4m in 2021. EBIT was €19m (2021: €24m including P24x measures).

The Special presses division had sales of €417.1m (2021: €390.2m), with EBIT of €23.2m (2021: €34.9m including P24x measures). 

Its Digital & Webfed wing improved its results and halved its EBIT losses to €19.3m on sales up 15% at €139.8m. 

“To summarise, the Koenig & Bauer Group’s business performance and business situation in 2022 were better than expected given the prevailing global challenges,” the group stated. 

The P24x programme resulted in overall savings of around €92m last year. 

Regarding the current year, K&B noted that “economic headwinds will remain strong” due to the ongoing effects of the Russian war against Ukraine, “the unchanged high energy and commodity prices” and tighter monetary policies of international central banks in response to inflation rates. 

Despite this, Koenig & Bauer is projecting group revenue of around €1.3bn, accompanied by an EBIT margin of roughly 3%, for 2023, with the Digital & Web division expected to make a big contribution to EBIT and revenue growth. 

CFO Dr Stephen Kimmich commented: “With our strong position in promising product segments and the continuation of our P24x efficiency programme, we are well poised to address the challenges ahead of us.

“We have done our homework and showed last year that we can achieve growth even in a difficult environment.”

Koenig & Bauer’s share price has risen by almost 5% since the announcement, and was at €19.82 at the time of writing, not far off the 52-week high of €22.95 (low: €10.70).

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