Optimism at Heidelberg

Heidelberg has issued an upbeat assessment of its prospects for this year, following on from its earlier announcement of last year’s results, which showed the company meeting its targets with sales up 14 percent on the previous year to €2.183 billion and net profit after taxes of €33 million – a significant improvement on the previous year’s loss of €43 million.

Heidelberg’s main headquarters is in Wiesloch, Germany.

Demand for new products appears to have bounced back after the pandemic with Heidelberg reporting an order backlog of around €900 million. The company achieved a free cash flow of €88 million for the year ending March 2022. This seems to be mainly as a result of a sharp reduction in net working capital and proceeds from asset disposals including Docufy, which netted around €22 million, and Heidelberg’s old headquarters building in the United Kingdom, worth around €26 million. In addition, the company managed through a combination of repayment of loans, borrowings, and a convertible bond, to reduce its net financial debt once from €67 million to €–11 million. Consequently, the Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation increased to €160 million, up from €95 million the previous year. 

Dr. Ludwin Monz, Chairman of the Board, says that Heidelberg has grown in all its core business areas in sales and earnings, adding: “The high order backlog resulting from the noticeable market recovery in the past fiscal year provides a good foundation for sales in the new fiscal year. However, the effects of the war in Ukraine are currently presenting us, like most other companies, with challenges. We have to deal with the economic uncertainty and the significant increase in raw material and energy prices.” 

Now Heidelberg is predicting revenues for the 2022/23 financial year of around €2.3 billion and an increase in the EBITDA margin to at least 8 percent. However, Heidelberg’s statement notes that its predictions for the 2022/23 financial year assumes there is no further drop-off in demand or worsening of the supply chain situation.

That seems like quite a big assumption given that the war in Ukraine shows no sign of ending quickly, and NATO has just increased its standby troop numbers from 40,000 to 300,000. In addition, the Chinese government has indicated that it could continue with its zero-covid approach and continual lockdowns for up to five years, which is very bad news for China’s manufacturing sector, and its international customers. 

Monz noted that the company had come through the pandemic successfully, adding: “We will continue to work on strengthening our core business in the printing sector. This will free us up to expand into new markets at the same time.”

This includes the the electromobility market, which saw the strongest growth in this past year. Heidelberg saw strong demand for its Wall Box charging stations for electric vehicles, with sales increasing by more than 120 percent to around €50 million in the past fiscal year. Heidelberg is now one of the major suppliers in this sector, at least in Germany, with over 165,000 units sold.

Heidelberg also offers industrial manufacturing services to other companies and sees further potential growth in this area, particularly as other companies look to relocate their manufacturing to Europe. The company runs one of the most efficient foundries in Europe at its site in Amstetten, which has a capacity of up to 85,000 tons of castings. Monz commented: ”In this way, we are also making our technological expertise available in a targeted manner for new markets outside the print industry.”

You can find further details from heidelberg.com, including the Investor Relations page, which details the financial results.

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