Strong demand from North America and Europe, along with sustained growth in the packaging segment, has put Heidelberger Druckmaschinen (Heidelberg) on track after nine months of the current 2022/23 financial year. In the third quarter just ended, from October to December 2022, the Group bucked the general trend in the mechanical engineering industry by recording stable incoming orders of €630 million (US$ 676 million). This led to a high order backlog of almost €1 billion (US$1.07 billion). At €609 million (US$653 million), sales in the third quarter were around 5% up on the equivalent quarter of the previous year.
Adjusted for non-recurring effects, EBITDA was €18 million (US$19.3) higher than in the previous year, primarily due to the positive impact of rising sales. Posting the full collectively agreed inflation relief bonus had a detrimental effect during this accounting period. The production-related increase in inventories led to a free cash flow of €–4 million in the third quarter, which represented a stable development compared with the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Thanks to the good performance in terms of sales and incoming orders and the significant improvement in the operating result, the company is confirming its forecast for the financial year 2022/23 as a whole.
“We had a positive third quarter and were able to further increase our sales and operating result. Looking ahead, the coming months will continue to be affected by the expected increases in material, energy, and personnel costs,” said Ludwin Monz, CEO of Heidelberg. “We will continue to counter this through price rises and maintain our cost discipline. We are therefore very confident of achieving our targets for the year,” he added.
Strong nine-month balance sheet
Incoming orders after nine months remained stable and at a high level compared with the year before. Despite economic uncertainties, they totaled €1,859 million (US$1994 million) (the previous year’s figure: €1,888 million( (US$2026 million)). On the balance sheet date, the order backlog amounted to nearly €1 billion, which lays a good foundation for the coming financial year. Sales in all three quarters of the current financial year exceeded the respective figures for the year before. At €1,729 million, the nine-month total was 10 percent up on the previous year (€1,565 million).
Sustained growth in packaging segment
Packaging printing (Packaging solutions segment) exhibited particularly strong growth in the third quarter. Incoming orders from October to the end of December 2022 were 18% up on the previous year’s figure. Over the nine-month period, order intake improved by 5% compared with the same period of the previous year. At €812 million (US$871million), sales after nine months were over 22% higher than the year before. In commercial printing (Print solutions segment), sales after nine months climbed to €898 million(US$963million), while incoming orders fell slightly. As in the first half-year, changes to Germany’s incentive policy for electromobility meant wallbox business (technology Solutions segment) was unable to continue the previous year’s exceptional growth in terms of incoming orders and sales.
“A low net financial debt and a higher equity ratio put Heidelberg in a good financial position,” said the company’s new CFO, Tania von der Goltz. “In view of the uncertain situation at present, we will continue to work on our resilience and, in particular, keep an eye on our costs,” she added.
Heidelberg stands by its forecast for the financial year 2022/23. The company continues to expect sales figures to increase to around €2.3 billion (2021/22: €2.18 billion). Despite the likelihood of cost increases, profitability is also set to improve further. Heidelberg is still predicting a further rise in the EBITDA margin to at least 8% for the 2022/23 financial year (2021/22: 7.3%). The net result after taxes is also expected to improve slightly compared with 2021/22 (€33 million).