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KBA Halves Loss with Spike in Press Orders

August 13, 2010
WÜRZBURG, GERMANY—08/13/10—Following the release of preliminary figures on July 20, which revealed a perceptible upswing in the print media industry and a year-on-year increase in new orders of almost 39%, German press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA) has now fleshed out the details in its half-yearly report. Compared to the same period last year, group sales were up 4.5% to €473.2 million and the pre-tax loss was slashed from €47.4 million to €22 million, €21.3 million of which originated in the first quarter when sales were still weak.

From these figures it can be seen that KBA almost achieved a balanced result in the second quarter, with EBT improving to just -€0.7 million. It also posted an operating profit of €0.5 million for the quarter, and although the accounts still show an operating loss of €18.9m for the first six months, this was well under half the corresponding figure of -€42.4m in 2009. The net loss to June 30 shrank from €46.8 million to €20.3 million, while earnings per share improved to -€1.23.

Print media industry gaining momentum
Both business divisions posted a higher volume of new orders and sales. Sales of sheetfed presses climbed 5.3% to €199.3 million, sales of web and special presses were up 3.9% at €273.9 million. Demand for sheetfed presses starting picking up in March, and for big web presses in June. The influx of new orders in the six months to July jumped 38.9% to €679.3 million. KBA booked sheetfed orders worth €192.7 million in the second quarter alone, and the figure for the full six months was €303.6 million, a year-on-year rise of 36.6%. The order intake for web and special presses soared 40.8% to €375.7 million. Both divisions reported continued brisk demand in July, and there was a surge in orders for big newspaper web presses.

Higher level of plant utilisation
The backlog of unfilled orders at the end of June was worth €541.1m, a good €100m more than at the end of March and higher than the prior-year figure of €537.8 million which included web press contracts booked prior to the financial crisis. KBA’s sheetfed plants returned to full-time work in June as production was cranked up again. Short-time schemes were also scaled back at its other factories and are likely to be terminated – at least provisionally – this autumn as work is distributed among group operations to maintain employment, and web press business gathers momentum.
 

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