Koenig and Bauer figures show cautious optimism

Koenig and Bauer has posted its financial results for last year, showing revenue of €1226 million, achieving its target of a 7.1 percent margin. Overall earnings before taxes were up from €81.4 million to €87.4 million with the overall balance sheet up slightly from €1163.9 million to €1178.3 million. 

Koenig and Bauer has developed a 4/0 version of its RotaJet inkjet press for decor applications.

CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann commented: “Driven by a record order intake, we have been able to widen our share of the global flexible packaging printing market to 9%. Revenue in marking and coding has risen by around 50% in the last three years. Since the acquisition of flatbed die-cutter business in 2016, revenue in this business field has climbed by more than 50%. The entry into the market for folder gluers and the planned joint venture with inkjet pioneer Durst for folding carton and corrugated printing are further milestones.”

The cash flow was up from €23.8 million to €66.3 million. However, the Sheetfed division is still suffering from bottlenecks in the availability of parts, which saw a drop in the order intake, down from €656.2 million the previous year to €613 million, while revenue fell from €660.2 million to €647.4 million. That said, the company claims that it has a good order intake for the start of this year. 

The Digital & Web division has seen a growth in orders, attributed mostly to flexible packaging printing. Koenig and Bauer has also sold several of its RotaJet inkjet presses. However, the EBIT, or Earnings Before Interest and Taxes, for this division fell to -€10.5 million, which the company attributes to “market-entry and growth-related expenses for digital, flexible packaging and corrugated board printing”.

The company has also seen growth in its Special Projects division, with revenue up 4.8 percent to €490.5m, mainly due to growth in security printing, marking and coding as well as glass/hollow container decorating. CFO Mathias Dähn noted: “Pleasing revenue and earnings potential can arise with our RotaJet digital printing platform for decor and flexible packaging printing following a greater substitution of the hitherto standard analogue printing processes and an increase in the internally-sourced production of decoration papers in the furniture and flooring industry.” 

Bolza-Schünemann struck an optimistic note for the future, pointing out that there are opportunities in the cardboard, corrugated board, flexible packaging, 2-piece can, marking and coding, glass direct and decor printing as well as in postpress markets. He claims that the volatility of the security printing market can be offset by higher packaging share of group revenue though he accepted that Koenig and Bauer would see further decline in the newspaper and commercial print markets for its web offset presses. 

Nonetheless, he said: “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. Our further targets include a dividend ratio of 15 – 35% of group net profit, an equity ratio of over 45%, a target corridor for net working capital of 20 – 25% of revenue, and a share of 30% in total revenue for service business.”

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