Strong security business and more orders in packaging printing caused order intake to rise by 17.2% to €705.3 million in the first half of 2018 (2017: €601.9 million). Driven by the good Q2 figure of €297.1 million, group revenue came to €514.4 million but fell short of the previous year’s figure of €538.9 million due to the even greater accumulation of delivery dates in the second half of the year. This was also reflected in EBIT, which at €10.6 million was lower than in 2017 (€16.3 million).
The Sheetfed segment reached a strong order intake of €326.3 million, exactly matching the previous year’s figure, which had been influenced by the Print China fair.
“Substantial growth was achieved in large-format cardboard printing. As the world market leader in folding carton printing, we are benefiting from heightened capital spending of the international packaging printers,” said Claus Bolza-Schünemann, president and CEO.
Despite the encouraging growth in new business in flexible packaging, orders in Digital & Web (€84.7 million) were slightly down on the previous year (€85.7 million) due to fewer orders for newspaper web presses and services. In addition to the market-entry costs for corrugated and flexible packaging in particular, EBIT was significantly burdened by the decline in revenue from €68.3 million to €55.8 million.
Driven by large orders in security printing and growth in marking and coding, order intake in the Special segment rose by 52.8% to €330.6 million (2017: €216.3 million). With revenue rising slightly from €189.2 million to €195 million, EBIT came to €14.4 million, thus matching the previous year’s figure. President and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann: “With the major order received from Giesecke+Devrient for the delivery of several press lines for the production of ultra-secure banknotes in Egypt, we have a high degree of capacity utilisation in security printing until well into 2019.”
Cash flows from operating activities rose substantially over the previous year (€–20 million) to €17.4 million. The free cash flow was burdened by the final payment instalment of €34.8 million made in Q1 for the external funding of a part of the pension provisions.
In 2018, the management board expects to achieve organic growth of around 4% in group revenue and an EBIT margin of around 7%. Depending on the global economy, end markets and the necessary investments in growth, management is targeting a group-wide organic revenue growth rate of around 4% p.a. and an EBIT margin of between 4% and 9% by 2021.
“In addition to our printing, finishing, coding and postpress solutions for cardboard, banknotes, cans, glass and hollow containers and other products, we are particularly focusing on corrugated board and flexible packaging,” Bolza-Schünemann said. “With the focus on the growing packaging printing, we want to boost our revenue and profitability as well as the stability of our business on a sustained basis.”