Based on preliminary calculations, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) achieved an increase in sales in the fourth quarter of financial year 2011/2012 (January 1, 2012 to March 31, 2012) compared to the previous year - from EUR 745 million to around EUR 780 million, thus reaching the highest quarterly sales figure for the last three years.
The preliminary result of operating activities excluding special items continued to improve as the year progressed, reaching around EUR 20 million in the quarter under review (previous year: EUR 30 million). The higher provision for risks had a negative impact. As a result of Eastman Kodak Company currently being subject to Chapter 11 proceedings under the US Bankruptcy Code, this provision was in the low double-digit million euro range. Heidelberg sublets an administrative and production building in Rochester, U.S., to Eastman Kodak and the associated provision for risks is an appropriate response to the current appraisal of the situation.
For this reason, the aim of significantly improving the operating result excluding special items for financial year 2011/2012 as a whole cannot be achieved. Based on preliminary calculations, this figure will once again be slightly positive, somewhere between EUR 0 million and EUR 5 million (previous year: EUR 4 million).
As expected, preliminary incoming orders in the fourth quarter were down on the previous year's level of EUR 637 million at just over EUR 570 million. Based on previous experience, this is because print shops are holding back with orders in the quarter prior to drupa (which takes place in May 2012).
"Sales in the final quarter were encouragingly high. The operating result continued to improve as the year went on. However, due to the necessary balance sheet provision, we were unable to achieve our target for the year as a whole," said Heidelberg CEO Bernhard Schreier. "drupa has come at exactly the right time and we expect this key trade show to give the industry a favorable impetus. Customer response to the numerous innovations at the show is very promising so far," he continued.
The preliminary free cash flow for the fourth quarter developed favorably to around EUR 30 million (previous year: EUR -16 million) and was therefore better than expected by the company.
"Thanks to consistent asset management, we achieved a positive free cash flow also for the past financial year and managed to keep net debt at a low level," said Heidelberg CFO Dirk Kaliebe. "Heidelberg is on a stable footing. Our FOCUS 2012 efficiency program will help us achieve our earnings targets," he added.
In March 2012, Heidelberg started implementing the FOCUS 2012 efficiency program in Germany, too. This program is intended to achieve sustainable savings of EUR 180 million and an operating result excluding special items of around EUR 150 million in financial year 2013/2014.
As of March 31, 2012, the Heidelberg Group had a workforce of approximately 15,400 worldwide (including trainees).
The scheduled publication date for the final figures for financial year 2011/2012 is June 14, 2012.
Heidelberg at drupa 2012
Today's print media service providers are faced with a dynamic and challenging market. Companies that want to achieve success in an environment of this kind need to optimize their business models by seizing on market trends in the industry and using them to their advantage.
During drupa 2012, from May 3 to 16, Heidelberg will be showcasing in Hall 1 an extended portfolio of products and solutions that have been developed specifically for the latest market requirements. The trade show presentation, held under the banner "Discover HEI", will center on lean production (HEI Productivity), green printing (HEI Eco), web-to-print (HEI Integration), short-run-printing (HEI Flexibility), differentiation through coatings and special effects (HEI Emotions), the future of packaging printing (HEI End), and gaining an edge through the latest know-how (HEI School). The company is exhibiting solutions that enable print shops and postpress businesses to meet the latest market requirements in full.