Agfa cuts debt with $A273m sale of receivables in Q2

The company revealed that it had signed agreements with “three core banks” for the sale of €160m ($A273m) of receivables in return for €40m in Q2, with the remaining €120m to follow in the coming quarters.

The deal contributed to a €104m improvement in the group’s net financial debt in the past six months, reducing it to €569m ($A972m) at the end of June 2009, compared with €673m at the end of 2008.

However, the group made a €1m pre-tax loss for the quarter, down more than 116 per cent on the same period last year when it posted a €6m pre-tax profit.

Meanwhile, the group’s Graphics division recorded a 15.3 per cent drop in sales to €326m, and an 11.6 per cent EBIT fall to €12.2m.

Agfa said that sales at its Graphics division had been “severely hit by the impact of the global economic crisis on the printing industry”, which had been strongest in the field of “investment goods”.

Consumables sales, such as graphic film and printing plates, were also affected due to a slowdown in the advertising markets which resulted in lower use, while competitive pressure increased due to overcapacity.

The volume decline, coupled with the increase in competitive pressure, affected Agfa Graphics’ gross profitability, although the company said that this was partially offset by lower raw material prices.

In pre-press, Agfa Graphics highlighted the launch in the quarter of the Avalon N4 platesetter for mid-sized commercial printers, and the new release of its Apogee Suite workflow software.

Agfa said that it was “inclined to believe that the crisis-driven decline in its most important markets is bottoming out”, although it added that it was impossible to predict when the markets would pick up and demand would recover.

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