Driven by strong security press business and growth in packaging printing markets, order intake in the Koenig & Bauer group rose by 4.4% over the previous year to €943.2m in the first nine months of 2018.
At the end of Q3, order backlog was up 25.5%, standing at €769.3m. Group revenue came to €788.8m but fell short of the previous year’s figure of €847.7m due to the even greater accumulation of delivery dates requested by our customers in Q4 and bottlenecks in the parts availability. This was also reflected in EBIT, which at €28.6m was lower than in 2017 (€36.4m).
While the project situation is good, order intake, revenue and EBIT in the Sheetfed segment were affected in particular by bottlenecks in the availability of parts. Despite the growth in flexible packaging printing, order intake for Digital & Web was up only slightly on the previous year’s figure due to fewer orders for newspaper and digital printing presses.
Together with market-entry and growth-related expenses for corrugated board and flexible packaging, the lower revenue exerted pressure on EBIT in this segment. Despite substantially higher orders, revenue in the Special segment was slightly below the previous year’s figure. However, the EBIT margin remained stable in this segment.
Financial and balance sheet profile strengthened
Cash flows from operating activities rose substantially over the previous year (–€24.6m) to €50.5m. Although free cash flow was burdened by the final payment instalment of €34.8m made in Q1 for the external funding of a part of the pension provisions, it also improved substantially. In addition to net liquidity of €74.3m and securities of €15.7m that can be liquidated at any time, the group also has access to syndicated credit facilities. The equity ratio widened from 36.4% at the end of 2017 to 37.4%.
Medium-term goals until 2021
Depending on trends in the global economy, end markets and the necessary investments in growth, management is targeting a group-wide organic revenue growth rate of around 4% p.a. and an EBIT margin of between 4% and 9% by 2021. The effects of the additional growth offensive 2023 which the management board presented in conjunction with the announcement of the Q3 figures are not included in the medium-term targets, neither revenue nor costs.
Management board change
The supervisory board has appointed its member Dr Andreas Pleßke to the management board for five years with effect from 1 December 2018 for managing the Special segment. His area of responsibility also includes the optimisation of the internal production network. Furthermore, the company has been able to find Prof Dr-Ing Raimund Klinkner as his successor to the supervisory board.