Andy Vels Jensen, managing director of Heidelberg Australia and New Zealand said sales this year to the 'best ever' for the company.
Preliminary sales by the Heidelberg Group during the period under review climbed six percent to Euro3.803bn The fourth quarter alone returned sales of Euro1.214bn, the highest level in the last five years on a like for like basis.
Preliminary incoming orders in the financial year just closed were Euro3.853bn, around seven percent up on the previous year. Heidelberg has succeeded in increasing incoming orders for the third successive year. At around Euro1bn, the preliminary order backlog at March 31 2007 was on a par with the previous year's high level.
In the period under review, the Heidelberg Group increased its preliminary operating profit to Euro362m, 30 per cent up on the previous year. This produced an EBIT margin of 9.5 per cent of sales up from the previous year of 7.7 per cent. A number of factors contributed to this result, including positive non-recurring asset management items of around Euro60m, resulting primarily from the sale of Linotype and the R+D building in Heidelberg, which is now on sale and leaseback. During the course of the year, this helped to compensate the higher spending on R+D, investments in new generations of printing presses, less favorable exchange rates and a decline in sales in China.
The preliminary net profit climbed to Euro263m, almost double the(previous year of Euro135m, although this included a positive non-recurring item in the form of a corporation tax credit of Euro73m. This credit relates to a change in the way existing tax credits are treated and has no impact on the level of future dividends. The free cash flow also increased substantially to Euro229m as a result of tight asset management.
Dirk Kaliebe. Heidelberg CFO says, "Last financial year we achieved strong improvements in earnings and free cash flow and in essence reached the targets we had set ourselves. All in all, we have taken another sizeable step towards bolstering the company's sustainable profitability."
As of March 31 the Heidelberg Group had a workforce of 19,171 worldwide (previous year: 18,436). This figure includes new appointments - primarily at Heidelberg production facilities - and, for the first time, 156 employees from the initial consolidation of BHS Druck und Veredelungstechnik, a subsidiary of the Gallus Group.
In the Press Division, preliminary sales in the financial year just closed rose by approx. six per cent to Euro3.321bn. Preliminary incoming orders in the period under review increased by seven per cent on the previous year toEuro3.367bn. The preliminary operating profit for 2006/2007 was up by more than 20 per cent to Euro314m.
In the Postpress Division preliminary sales in the period under review rose by around 12 per cent to Euro445m. Preliminary incoming orders increased by some nine per cent to Euro449 million. The preliminary operating profit of this division for the period under review was seven million Euro7m, compared with a Euro3m loss last year.
In the Asia Pacific region figures fell short of the high levels of the previous year, mainly due to China. The suspension of the import duty exemption in China, which took effect since the second quarter, postponed incoming orders and sales. The restoration of the import duty exemption on March 1 suggests that the order and supply situation for the Chinese market will start to show improvement in the current 2007/2008 financial year.