KBA Financially On Target with Nine-Month FiguresNovember 14, 2012
By contrast, in this long-term orientated business segment sales rose by 34.1 percent to €520.8 million driven by numerous deliveries resulting from an earlier wave of orders. Higher contribution margins, the growth in the service business and an advantageous product mix resulted in the web and special press division showing an improved profit of €41.9 million (2011: €1.7m).
Export level approaches 90 percent
A slide in domestic sales compared to 2011 raised the export level to 89.5 percent. In the first nine months sales to the rest of Europe contributed to only 29.7 percent of the group total (2011: 36.1 percent) dampened by the weak economy in the South and other parts of Europe. The volume of group sales attributable to the growth regions Asia and the Pacific was 24.4 percent, with China playing a major role.
The figure for the emerging markets Latin America and Africa soared to an above-average 25.3 percent (2011: 11.4 percent). In contrast, sales in North America contributed 10.1 percent to the total, remaining below the long-term average.
Continued solid finances and balance sheet
The increase in sheetfed sales planned in the fourth quarter has led to a temporary rise in working capital. However, the improvement in earnings and drop in trade receivables increased cash flow from operating activities to €66.1 million (2011: €64.6m). The free cash flow climbed from €40.7 million to €49.9m and raised funds to €193.4 million accordingly. This process is supported by active cash management and objectives linked to financial figures.
After deducting reduced bank loans totaling €30.7 million, KBA continues to have a very good net financial position of €162.7m. At 37.6 percent the group’s equity ratio was also significantly above the industry average.
High apprenticeship rate of 6.5 percent
At the end of September there were 6,312 employees on the KBA Group payroll, including some 411 apprentices. Excluding the staff at KBA’s newly consolidated Swiss subsidiary, Print Assist AG, this was 149 fewer than twelve months earlier (6,446).
Following the conclusion of phased retirement schemes and other measures, the total will fall below 6,000. A new intake of 70 apprentices started at the parent company in autumn, ensuring the next generation of skilled employees for the technically very demanding printing press business.
Positive outlook for 2012
In the third quarter report the management board reaffirmed its targets for 2012. These include the increase in group sales to over €1.2 billion and a double-digit pre-tax earnings figure above €12.5 million in the first nine months. In view of growing economic and political uncertainty, the management board will publish more details on 2012 and expectations for 2013 in February next year together with the preliminary figures for the current business year.
With a view to sustainably improving profitability in the sheetfed and web offset core business, the management board once again launched a comprehensive scheme in early summer to increase efficiency and trim costs. This program will run until 2014.
Bolza-Schünemann says, “The scheme does not include further large-scale changes to the number of employees. We first aim to reduce general and administrative costs further, to divide the workload between the group’s locations more efficiently, optimize group purchasing plus the introduction of more flexible employee working times without extra costs.”
Having entered the growth market of digital printing with the KBA RotaJET launched at Drupa, diversifying remains on the agenda.
Bolza-Schünemann adds, “Among the many intensively scrutinised options, print-related segments in the broad field of packaging production seem to be interesting and suited to KBA.”