Credit crunch means mixed figures for KBA

Following slack pre-drupa demand the volume of new orders booked by KBA’s sheetfed division also slipped by 2.4 per cent, from €375.7m to €366.8m.

In the web and special press division, a double-digit leap in new orders for newspaper presses failed to outweigh softer demand for commercial web and security presses, resulting in a 2.5 per cent drop in the order inflow to €342m compared with €350.6m last year.

The group order backlog was trimmed to €844.6m from €880.1m the prevoous year. While the volume of orders for web and special presses was €565.9m, only marginally lower than twelve months earlier at €573.4m, the same cannot be said of the backlog of orders for sheetfed presses, which shrank from €306.7m to €278.7m, according to the company.

KBA says that a big increase in firm bookings from the contracts signed at or after drupa is needed in the third quarter to maintain production for the fourth quarter and beyond.

Group sales totalling €656.1m for the first six months were 17.5 per cent below last year’s above- figure of €794.9m, with sales of web and special presses down at €346m from €420.5m, a drop of 17.7 pe cent.

Sheetfed sales of €310.1m were 17.2 per cent below the €374.4m posted the previous year. This shortfall in sales and the extraordinary expense associated with drupa caused the operating profit to slump from €27.2m last year to €4.7m this year, according to the company.

KBA concludes notwithstanding the deteriorating economic climate, which is now impacting on other sectors, and the shortfall in new orders for sheetfed presses, KBA stands by its prognosis for 2008 of €1.6bn in sales and a pre-tax profit close to last year’s level.

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