“After nine months, Heidelberg has made significant progress regarding profitability,” said Heidelberg CEO Gerold Linzbach. “As we expect our sales to pick up and the result to increase in the final quarter, we remain confident that we will meet our target of achieving a net profit.”
Group sales after nine months for the period under review stood at €1.685 billion (previous year: €1.905 billion). Negative exchange rate movements accounted for around a third of this drop. This also led to restrained investment activity in new machinery sales among customers in Asia/Pacific and South America, particularly Brazil, which were the regions hit hardest by these developments. Furthermore, Heidelberg continued to scale back its involvement in low-margin areas of business. In contrast, the North America region - particularly the United States - showed a revival in demand.
After the first nine months of financial year 2013/2014, the operating break-even point was exceeded despite falling sales. As a result of sustained savings from the Focus efficiency program and measures to increase profit contributions, all KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) affecting the results were up again on the same period of the previous year. After three quarters, EBITDA excluding special items increased from €4 million in the previous year to €67 million. The EBITDA margin thus reached a value of 4%. The result of operating activities (EBIT) excluding special items after nine months climbed from € 58 million to €10 million. This is the first time this financial year that Heidelberg has achieved a positive cumulative EBIT result.
In the period under review, the financial result after three quarters was €-41 million (previous year: €-36 million). The previous year included positive one-time effects from interest on tax refunds. After the first nine months of the current financial year, the pre-tax result improved from €-118 million in the previous year to €-32 million. Consequently, the cumulative net result for the first nine months of financial year 2013/2014 improved to €-40 million after €-94 million in the previous year.
At €588 million, the Heidelberg Group’s order backlog at Dec. 31, 2013 remained stable compared to the previous quarter (€598 million).
Net financial debt fell year-on-year to €271 million (previous year: €325 million). Despite further payments for Focus, debt at Dec. 31, 2013 was maintained at the low level of March 31, 2013 (€261 million).
At the start of December, Heidelberg further improved its financing structure as regards its maturities by extending its syndicated credit line and increasing its bond by €51 million. The financial framework essentially comprises the syndicated credit line which currently stands at €340 million and a €60 million convertible bond (both due to mature by mid-2017) and a bond for €355 million that matures in April 2018. Thus, Heidelberg has arranged an adequate financial framework for its business development and offers a diversified financing structure.
“By successfully refinancing our credit line, we have made further significant progress in optimizing our financing structure. We have extended the terms of our key financing pillars to 2017 and 2018,” said Heidelberg CFO Dirk Kaliebe. “Thanks to our asset and net working capital management, the company’s net financial debt remains at a low level. In the medium term, we intend to reduce our debt even further.”