Koenig & Bauer 2020 H1 revenues decline by 20.1%

Significant pandemic impact on K&B earnings

Koenig & Bauer
The high-end Rapida 106 X press for medium-format sheetfed offset, which was presented at the virtual trade fair Koenig & Bauer Live in June, sets new performance standards in industrial printing

In addition to the general investment restraint on the part of many customers in the corona crisis, travel bans, lockdowns, and other restrictions significantly affected the business figures of the Koenig & Bauer group in the first half of 2020. The restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic particularly impeded deliveries of the presses to the international customers as well as the worldwide deployment of the assembly staff and service technicians.

At €480.2 million, orders were 16.2% lower than in the previous year, although this was better than the sector trend for printing presses published by industry association VDMA. At €404.5 million, revenue fell short of the previous year by 20.1%. On the cost side, massive measures were taken to address the effects of the crisis, introducing short-time working from 1 April 2020 alongside other steps. EBIT improved substantially from -€34.9 million in Q1 to -€6 million in Q2. For the first half of the year, EBIT was -€40.9 million after €0.6 million in the previous year. At -€44.2 million, net earnings as of 30 June corresponds to earnings per share of -€2.68.

Despite substantially lower trade receivables and higher customer prepayments, the half-year loss and the increase in inventories had major impacts on cash flows from operating activities, which came to – €68.6 million (2019: -€96.5 million). The equity ratio stood at 32.2% at the end of June 2020.

Segment performance

Despite the substantial gains with large-format sheetfed offset presses and folder gluers, order intake in the sheetfed segment declined by 12.9% over the previous year’s figure of €330.6 million to €288 million due to lower orders for medium and half-format presses. The revenue of €205.5 million was 20.6% lower than the previous year’s figure (€258.9 million) for delivery-related reasons, and due to the pandemic’s effects. With the book-to-bill ratio coming to 1.4, order backlog rose from €261.6 million to €265.9 million. Due to lower revenue, EBIT of -€17.4 million was below the previous year (-€1.3 million).

Order intake in the Digital & Web segment came to €56.7 million, down from €89.9 million in the previous year, due to lower orders in the web offset press business and flexible packaging printing. At €51.6 million, revenue was down on the previous year (€64.5 million). The order backlog contracted from €111.2 million to €71.2 million. The lower revenue had a significant impact on the EBIT of – €12.1 million (2019: –€10.8 million).

The decline in order intake in the Special segment from €175.3 million to €150.7 million reflects lower orders for security printing, marking and coding, and direct glass printing. In metal decorating, there was an increase in new business. Revenue fell from €204.9 million to €160.1 million. The order backlog reached €278.1 million after €316 million in the previous year. After €6.3 million in the previous year, EBIT came to -€10.3 million in the first half of 2020 for revenue-related reasons.

Revenue and orders for the large-format sheetfed offset presses and folder gluers used in the packaging sector also increased during the crisis
Revenue and orders for the large-format sheetfed offset presses and folder gluers used in the packaging sector also increased during the crisis


CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann stated, “In view of the high volatility and the great uncertainties surrounding the severity and duration of the coronavirus pandemic and the success of health, economic and monetary policies, the further global economic development is uncertain. Given these uncertain underlying conditions, it is currently not yet possible to issue any revenue and earnings guidance for 2020 for our group. The management board is working intensively on the Performance 2024 efficiency
program to increase operating profitability. We have applied for a KfW loan to supplement the existing syndicated credit facilities. In addition, improvements in working capital and cash flow are at the top of the agenda, together with the strategic focus on packaging printing and digital services.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.


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