Bobst’s figures reflect ravages of pandemic

Bobst released its results for the first half of this year, which show the impact that the Corona Virus and subsequent lockdown has had on its business.

Bobst announced this Master CI wide web flexo press back in June 2020.

The figures do make for grim reading though are hardly surprising given the current environment. The net result was a loss of CHF 30 million following on from a profit of CHF 7.4 million in the first half of 2019. Sales revenue fell some 29 percent, down from CHF 736.8m in H1 2019 to CHF 523.8m this year. The web-fed business bore the brunt of this, dropping 57 percent from CHF 115.6m to CHF 49.7m in this half. Bobst pointed out that most of its field service technicians are based in Europe and could not travel to install new machines.

However, the Services business fared better with revenues of CHF 228.3m, not far short of the CHF 243.6m from 2019. Bobst pointed out that the spare parts supply chain proved to be efficient and resilient, and that some of the service and technical support interventions could be carried out remotely.

Bobst blames most of the drop in its figures on the impact of the Corona Virus, which has undoubtedly hit the sales and installations of new machines. The company says that exchange rates also reduced its sales figures by CHF 23.9m. 

However, Bobst did see an improvement of CHF 10.1m from the majority share acquisitions it made earlier this year in Yancheng Hongjing Machinery Technology Co, based in Dongtai, China, and Cito-System, based in Schwaig, Germany. 

The company has taken some steps to alleviate the fallout from the pandemic, including a freeze on hiring new staff and efforts to cut costs. 

Bobst also seems optimistic that the second half results may improve. The company says that since May the sheetfed business has seen “a promising increase of project pipelines in both emerging and mature markets and the outlook for year-end has improved in terms of bookings. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the upcoming months which may impact the full year result.” Equally, the company says a “significant number” of installations from the first half of the year had to be postponed but that it is confident of shipping these machines, and booking the sales, in the second half. 

In addition, Bobst is planning to merge its sheetfed and web-fed business units and has cut its Executive Committee from five to four.

The company has said that it will concentrate on the packaging market. Bobst pointed out that “the pandemic created intense packaging demand for the high consumption segments such as Food, Pharma and Home & Personal Care”

However, this optimism is mostly founded on the belief that with the death toll falling and most countries easing out of their lockdowns, the world will be able to get the pandemic under control, which at this stage is far from certain. Further details from bobst.com.


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