Exclusive Update on Heidelberg’s Outlook from CEO Bernhard Schreier
Schreier: You already mentioned the antitrust laws and their meaning for our industry. In principle Heidelberg won’t comment on takeover rumors concerning the company.
The aim of the Heidelberg Management Board is to stay independent. All of our efforts are going into the direction of increasing the value for our customers, as well as for our shareholders.
Printing Impressions: What are some of the advantages that will be reaped by your announcement to move some of your small-format press production to the former Baumfolder site in Ohio? And will press production ultimately be expanded there?
Schreier: The main market for this machine, the Quickmaster QM 46, is North America (around 80 percent of the total production). And, from a long-term perspective, this machine will have its market there. Also production costs are lower in the U.S. Besides the Quickmaster QM 46, Heidelberg is not planning to extend press production in Sydney, Ohio, or at other places in the United States.
Printing Impressions: How will the announced restructuring of your R&D efforts impact future product development?
Schreier: In the past years, we spent a lot of money to create a new printing press platform, which is called XL. This was now shown at Drupa in all formats. This platform development is completed, which leads us to less spending in the next few years. Our R&D activities are fully driven by the needs of our customers. Apart from that, we also develop into new technological fields to be able to continuously stay ahead of the competition in the sheetfed press market.
If one compares our R&D/revenue ratio of our sheetfed press products with that of one of our competitors, we are fully aligned with the R&D cost ratio of our competitors.
Printing Impressions: What aspect(s) of Heidelberg operations need to be addressed in the short term in order to strengthen the overall business and restore shareholder value?