KBA has published its figures for the full financial year for 2014. These show group sales of €1.1bn, on a par with the figures from the previous year. There was a slight rise in sheetfed offset press sales, mainly in the folding carton and metal decorating markets from €608m in 2013 to €610.1m. Thus the sheetfed offset segment generated an operating profit of €11.5m in 2014, a considerable improvement on the €77.6m loss in 2013, which was due to restructuring costs.
However, this failed to hide the bad news in web offset press sales where a downturn in newspaper and magazine publishing combined with a slide in demand for security presses led to a fall in order intake of 14.2% to €346.8m compared to the previous year. Overall, the rise in new orders for sheetfed presses was unable to compensate for the decline in KBA’s web and special press business. At €956.9m the total volume of new press orders was 5.5% down on the prior-year figure.
KBA has managed to attribute this to “numerous global conflicts, economic weakness in parts of Europe and in key emerging countries as well as slower growth in China,” which at the very least suggests a sense of humour amongst its financial advisors. Nonetheless, China remains the biggest market.
The cash flow was also up, despite a fall in customer prepayments and considerable cash outflows for severance payments. After deducting funds for investments, the free cash flow soared to €28.7m compared to €3.2m the year before. Along with an improvement in earnings, this was achieved by a reduction in inventories and receivables.
KBA says that the results reflect its realignment strategy, which it started at the beginning of the 2014 financial year. This will involve the company reorganiseing itself into divisions. In the new company structure Koenig & Bauer AG will operate as a holding with central functions. The operating business units sheetfed offset (KBA-Sheetfed Solutions), digital & web (KBA-Digital & Web Solutions) as well as production (KBA-Industrial Solutions) which will act as a joint production base for the group, will all be managed under its roof.
Claus Bolza-Schünemann, president and, commented: “We made rapid progress in the first twelve months of the most extensive realignment project in our company’s recent history and were pleased to see its positive effects earlier than anticipated.”
However, KBA is forecasting similar sales for this year, albeit with a 2 percent rise in margins. The company is mainly looking to the packaging and digital sectors for further growth.