KBA Sees Perceptible Upturn in Printing Press Sector

WÜRZBURG, GERMANY—06/17/10—At the 85th annual shareholders’ meeting of press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA), president and CEO Helge Hansen reported that demand for both sheetfed and web presses had picked up strongly since March. According to preliminary figures, the order intake of €500m for the first five months of the current business year was almost 23% up on the prior-year figure. Since January 1, the order backlog has increased by a good €160m to almost €500m.

Race to regain lost ground in the second half-year
After five months, KBA’s sales of €332m fell well short of group targets, but this is par for the course in the engineering sector, and Hansen is confident that lost ground can be regained in the second half-year. So despite a big reduction in capacity over the past twelve months KBA is aiming for a modest lift in sales from €1.05bn in 2009 to just over €1.1bn. By the end of May the group payroll had been trimmed to 6,465, and measures being implemented in the web press division will help reduce it to some 6,100 by the end of the year.

Higher pre-tax profit targeted for 2010
Slower sales and the bigger inventories built up for increased shipments in the second half-year are having a modest impact on earnings, the operating cash flow and liquidity, making a pre-tax loss likely for the six months to 30 June even though earnings will improve compared to the previous year. At the same time Hansen sees the moderate increase in sales and pre-tax earnings targeted for 2010 as being within reach. By dint of cutting material and personnel costs by some €110m, in 2009 KBA was unique among the world’s leading German, Japanese and US press manufacturers in bucking the industry crisis to post a pre-tax profit of €2.7m. Savings are expected to top €582m by the end of 2012.

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