Agfa also booked a restructuring charge of 122 million Euro in the fourth quarter, as the negotiations about the social plans for, amongst others, the Belgian operations were concluded. As a result, a net loss of 25 million Euro was recorded in the last quarter.
Agfa’s CEO Marc Olivié says all the company’s business groups are on track with the implementation of their growth strategies, but high raw material costs continued to have a major impact on our results.
“Graphics was able to improve its profitability thanks to its successful pricing strategy and the shift to more profitable digital prepress solutions. HealthCare’s encouraging sales growth in state-of-the-art digital and IT solutions again more than compensated the decline in the analog film and print products.
“Specialty Products’ sales grew strongly throughout the year and the business group is developing new products for its growth markets."
He says that at the beginning of 2006, certain niche products, such as film for Identification and Security, Aerial Photography, Phototooling and Advanced Materials were transferred from Graphics to Specialty Products. Sales amounted to 444 million Euro.
“On a comparable basis and at stable exchange rates, this is an increase of 0.9 percent (a decrease of 2.4 percent including exchange rate effects). This sales performance was driven by the price increases implemented to offset higher raw material costs and the continued strong growth of digital printing plates.”
Graphics has continued to expand its comprehensive prepress portfolio, offering additional options to further improve productivity and flexibility to newspaper, packaging and commercial printers.
For the newspaper segment, Agfa Graphics increased the throughput of its :Advantage DL platesetter to 220 printing plates an hour, allowing printers to efficiently handle very busy periods in production.
The business group also launched an update of its image processing software for newspapers using Mac systems as well as a completely new version for newspapers using PC platforms.