Exclusive Update on Heidelberg’s Outlook from CEO Bernhard Schreier
Schreier: Heidelberg's Drupa presentation clearly showed the company's strong focus on raising business segments, such as packaging, as well as service and consumables. In addition, Heidelberg will strengthen its sales activities in emerging markets. All of this will go fully in line with our cost-cutting measures.
Printing Impressions: To what factors do you attribute the company's dramatic drop in stock price this summer?
Schreier: Main reasons were the financial climate in the U.S. And, in conjunction with that, the beginning worldwide drop of the overall economic situation. Rising energy costs and worsening exchange rates did the rest.
Printing Impressions: What is the prognosis for the balance of 2008 and 2009?
Schreier: The company does not expect to match the previous year's sales figure for the financial year 2008/2009 as a whole; the operating result will considerably fall short of the previous year's result. Due to the uncertain economic situation worldwide and the volatile market environment, it will not be possible to provide a forecast of the key figures for the financial year 2008/2009 as a whole until later in the year. An outlook should be published no later than with the half-yearly results at the beginning of November 2008.
Printing Impressions: Sales of consumables by Heidelberg have grown steadily. Why is that so important to your company's continued success?
Schreier: Like packaging printing, services are relatively insensitive to economic fluctuations. In the future, Heidelberg will place greater emphasis on business involving consultancy services, spare parts, maintenance, and consumables. We have been involved in the consumables business for around 10 years, but cannot achieve any significant further growth by acting independently. Consequently, we are making greater use of cooperation arrangements and acquisitions.
At the end of last year we took an initial step in this direction by acquiring Stielund & Taekker, the largest consumables dealer in Scandinavia. And, just a few weeks ago, we bought Hi-Tech Coatings, a manufacturer of high-performance coatings.