Koenig & Bauer posted a 6.2% increase in revenue in Q1 while its order intake was also up.
The Würzburg-headquartered group’s revenue was up from €217.3m (£186.4m) in Q1 2018 to €230.7m for the three-month period ended 31 March 2019 while its order intake increased by 10.2% year-on-year from €250.9m to €276.4m.
The manufacturer said this growth was underpinned by “significantly more orders for services and for folding carton, direct glass and security printing presses”.
Earnings before Interest and Tax (EBIT) fell to -€2.8m, from €-1.9m in Q1 2018, despite high market-entry and growth-related expenses. The group made a net loss of €4.9m in the period, compared with a net loss of €2.3m a year ago, and its earnings per share were –€0.30 (Q1 2018: -€0.15).
In addition to good service orders, Koenig & Bauer said that “substantially higher orders” for packaging printing presses caused order intake in its Sheetfed segment to rise by 12.4% to €173.5m. Revenue in the division increased slightly by 1.8% to €113m.
The company said the good order backlog of €250.5m ensures continued high capacity utilisation.
Orders in Digital & Web came to €31.9m, down from €45.2m in Q1 2018, due to lower orders for newspaper and flexible packaging printing presses, while order intake in the Special segment was up by 37.7% year-on-year to €80m. This was attributed to more orders for services and presses for security printing and direct glass decorating.
Chief executive Claus Bolza-Schünemann said: “With our growth offensive 2023, we want to actively exploit the currently available market opportunities in the cardboard, corrugated board, flexible packaging, two-piece can, marking and coding, glass direct and decor printing as well as in post-press to achieve sustained profitable growth.
“The impact of volatile security printing will be reduced by higher packaging share of group revenue. For web offset presses for newspaper and commercial printing, we expect a further decline particularly in service business.
“With all our initiatives and projects, we are targeting to increase group revenue to around €1.5bn with an EBIT margin of between 7% and 10% until 2023. All three segments are to contribute to the growth in revenue and earnings.”
Chief financial officer Mathias Dähn added: “The order backlog, which rose to €656.6m as of 31 March 2019, gives us good forward visibility through to autumn 2019 and, in security printing with its good order situation, until 2020.
“With contract signings exceeding our expectations and reaching a figure in the mid double-digit millions of euros, the Print China trade fair held in mid-April was very successful.
“On the strength of the good order and project situation ensuring full capacity utilisation across the entire group as well as the further progress made in our projects for boosting earnings by €70m compared to 2016, we are confident to achieve organic growth of around 4% in revenue and an EBIT margin of around 6% in 2019 in the group.
“We are attaching particularly high priority to our growth offensive 2023, the cumulative costs of which we expect to reach around €50m for 2019 to 2021, with a heavier load in the first year. The resulting margin impact is already included in our 2019 earnings target.”
Koenig & Bauer’s share price was up by 0.55% to €44.08 in early trading but had settled down to €43.88 at the time of writing.