The increase in sheetfed sales planned in the fourth quarter has led to a temporary rise in working capital. However, the improvement in earnings and drop in trade receivables increased cash flow from operating activities to €66.1m (2011: €64.6m). The free cash flow climbed from €40.7m to €49.9m and raised funds to €193.4m accordingly. This process is supported by active cash management and objectives linked to financial figures. After deducting reduced bank loans totalling €30.7m, KBA continues to have a very good net financial position of €162.7m. At 37.6% the group’s equity ratio was also significantly above the industry average.
High apprenticeship rate of 6.5%
At the end of September there were 6,312 employees on the KBA Group payroll, including some 411 apprentices. Excluding the staff at KBA’s newly consolidated Swiss subsidiary, Print Assist AG, this was 149 fewer than twelve months earlier (6,446). Following the conclusion of phased retirement schemes and other measures, the total will fall below 6,000. A new intake of 70 apprentices started at the parent company in autumn, ensuring the next generation of skilled employees for the technically very demanding printing press business.
Positive outlook for 2012
In the third quarter report the management board reaffirmed its targets for 2012. These include the increase in group sales to over €1.2bn and a double-digit pre-tax earnings figure above €12.5m in the first nine months. In view of growing economic and political uncertainty, the management board will publish more details on 2012 and expectations for 2013 in February next year together with the preliminary figures for the current business year.
With a view to sustainably improving profitability in the sheetfed and web offset core business, the management board once again launched a comprehensive scheme in early summer to increase efficiency and trim costs. This programme will run until 2014. President and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann says: “The scheme does not include further large-scale changes to the number of employees. We first aim to reduce general and administrative costs further, to divide the workload between the group’s locations more efficiently, optimise group purchasing plus the introduction of more flexible employee working times without extra costs.”
Having entered the growth market of digital printing with the KBA RotaJET launched at Drupa, diversifying remains on the agenda. Claus Bolza-Schünemann: “Among the many intensively scrutinised options, print-related segments in the broad field of packaging production seem to be interesting and suited to KBA.”
Figures at a glance
The financial statements can be downloaded as a PDF file from here.