The improvement of nearly €60 million in the free cash flow to €24 million also underlines the success of the strategic realignment towards a digital company that has been initiated.
“Heidelberg has achieved its targets for 2016/2017 thanks to an excellent final quarter. The net profit after taxes improved once again and we’ve created a solid basis for the company’s further development,” said CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. “We now need to gear our strategy towards becoming a digital company focused on customer needs. This will also bring the expected growth in sales and a further substantial improvement in profitability in the future.”
Sales after 12 months were slightly up at €2.524 billion (previous year: €2.512 billion). In the final quarter alone, sales increased by just under 20% to €845 million (previous year: €710 million). In the period under review, incoming orders of €2.593 billion bucked the industry trend by being significantly up on the previous year’s level (€2.492 billion).
Despite the costs for the drupa industry trade show of €10 million in financial year 2016/2017, EBITDAexcluding special items in the reporting period amounted to €179 million (previous year: €189 million, including non-recurring income of €19 million from the PSG takeover). This resulted in an EBITDA margin of 7.1% (previous year excluding PSG: 6.8%). The €85 million operating profit (EBITDA before special items) for the fourth quarter was more than 20% higher than in the same period of the previous year. Special items in the reporting period amounted to some €–18 million (previous year: €–21 million). Lower interest costs resulted in a further significant improvement in the financial result to €–56 million (previous year: €–65 million). This led to a net result after taxes of €36 million (previous year: €28 million). In the final quarter, the net profit after taxes climbed from €35 million to €46 million.
The free cash flow at the end of the financial year reached a clearly positive value of €24 million (previous year: €–32 million). Operational enhancements and efficient cash flow management thus resulted in an improvement of €56 million compared with the previous year. In the quarter under review, the net financial debt fell to €252 million (March 31, 2016: €281 million) and the leverage remained well below the target value of 2 at 1.4.
“We’ve significantly increased the free cash flow and further improved our balance sheet quality in reporting year 2016/2017. This lays a firm foundation for the Group to independently finance our transition into the digital world and step up our pursuit of attractive takeover targets,” Heidelberg CFO Dirk Kaliebe said.