KBA says strong growth in the demand for sheetfed and web presses alike indicates that the print media industry is finally emerging from the recession that has dogged it for the past three years. After two challenging years, the group order level climbed above the billion euro threshold to hit EUR1.05bn. The backlog of unfilled orders for sheetfed offset presses stood at EUR394.2m, a 55.1 per cent improvement on the prior year. This is the highest level in KBA Radebeul’s history and guarantees production until the end of the year. The order backlog for web presses stood at EUR659.4m and will keep production running for the rest of the year, especially since some major contracts were not included in the half-year figures because details had not been clarified.
KBA’s short-cycle sheetfed offset operation, which sailed through the recession, booked an exceptionally large number of orders throughout the drupa season, says KBA. The inflow of orders to June 30 2004 jumped 38.5 per cent to EUR426.7m. The volume of new bookings for web presses rose by 29.6 per cent to EUR304.9m, largely due to contracts for several newspaper presses and a revival in the demand for commercial web offset and publication rotogravure presses.
Due to the rescheduling of certain shipments, sheetfed offset sales were just 7.7 per cent above the figure for last year EUR271.3m, at EUR292.1m, but will increase substantially in the second half. Shipments of web presses rose 5.6 per cent to EUR242.8m.
For the first time, sales to Asia-Pacific markets overtook European sales. Driven largely by strong growth in China they jumped to EUR110.8m and accounted for 20.7 per cent of the group total.