Heidelberg orders up by 44% as first Speedmaster CX 104 lands in Queensland

Heidelberg has released its half-year results which show a 44% increase in orders compared to last year driven by booming demand in China – where it has established local production operations – and the launch of the Speedmaster CX 104 universal sheetfed offset press with the first unit to land in Australia now being installed in Queensland.

Heidelberg’s financial position was also strengthened by €20 million from the sale of its non-core Docufy software business to investment company Elvaston Capital Management as part of its continued focus on cloud-based digitisation.

The uplifting financial report came as Heidelberg announced it sold its 1000th printing unit of the new Speedmaster CX 104 to Swedish packaging printer, Gafs Kartong, which expects the Push to Stop configuration to deliver productivity boosts.

Strong uplift in A/NZ

Heidelberg ANZ managing director Savas Mystakidis said 11 offset presses have been sold in Australia and New Zealand this year, adding the first Speedmaster CX 104 press has now arrived in Queensland with a second due in Australia in the first quarter of next year.

The new Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 104

“We are very pleased to see the resurgence in printing businesses and while the packaging industry is leading the charge, the commercial print industry is doing its fair share as well,” Mystakidis said.

“Commercial is still strong in certain areas and during COVID we have hardly seen anyone fall over. Businesses have hung in there and the government helped and now things are looking steady and times are certainly steady. The results have been very good overall and especially in Australia and New Zealand which has had a huge resurgence so that is very positive and pleasing to see.”

Heidelberg pointed to global supply chain freight issues in its financial update, and Mystakidis agreed the freight situation “abysmal”.

“We are like everyone else. New machinery is taking an extra two months on the water. The factory is still on target so we have that set but the shipping targets have blown out to double the normal shipping time,” he said.

“Most people are understanding as everyone is having to put up their freight costs, whether it is for paper or consumables, and I think all customers are in the same boat as their freight costs are also going up.”

Consumables required in Australia and New Zealand for Heidelberg presses were coming through, Mystakidis said, adding multiple container loads of supplies have been ordered in advance.

The new Speedmaster CX 104 universal sheetfed offset press was launched in June at Heidelberg’s ‘It’s Showtime’ digital customer event and went on to receive a favourable reception at China Print and Innovation Days in Wiesloch in October.

The press builds on its strong position in the expanding packaging segment and offers a flexible printing solution with a variety of automation solutions for the commercial sector.

And now the first press of this type has landed on Australian shores and is being installed in Queensland, with a second due to arrive in Australia next year, Mystakidis said.

“The new press suits both commercial printers and packaging and we have sold two already. One has arrived in the country and it is being installed and the other one is arriving early next year and yes there is lots of interest in regards to it as it is will be a very solid machine,” he said.

“It’s only been six months since we launched it and we have now sold 1000 globally and we have only just received the first one in Australia so it is going well.

Recovery in virtually all regions

Heidelberg has reported market recovery in virtually all regions in the second quarter. At the end of September 2021, incoming orders totalled €1,245 million, significantly above the €864 million recorded in the previous year due to the pandemic. Heidelberg’s order backlog has also increased to €886 million, compared to €627 million in the previous period.

International logistics bottlenecks caused delivery delays in the first half of the year, and Heidelberg says material supplies suffered similar issues, however it said collaboration with suppliers and the approval of alternative components prevented more serious negative effects during this period.

After tax, Heidelberg recorded a profit of €13 million, up from the €9 million profit recorded in the previous year.

Its four key growth focus areas are packaging printing, the creation of digital business models, China and new technology applications, especially in relation to manufacturing wallbox units for electronic cars.

“The highly positive developments in our growth areas and our improved cost-efficiency underline that Heidelberg is doing very well,” Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer said.

“We also see great potential for the future thanks to our leading position in China and in the areas of digital business models, e-mobility, and packaging printing. In addition to all this, our break-even point will continue to fall. Despite the clearly evident problems in the supply chain at present, we are therefore confident about this year and the years to come.”

Munich Re partnership

On November 8, Heidelberg entered a financial partnership with Munich Re which is says will “set the course for future growth”.

“This collaboration is intended to fully harness the global market potential of the subscription options offered by Heidelberg and significantly boost the volume of business in this area,” the company said.

Heidelberg sees growth potential for the company in packaging printing, creating digital business models, strong growth in China and new technology applications especially around e-mobility wallbox production allowed it to build on encouraging developments in the first quarter of the half.

Heidelberg CFO Marcus A. Wassenberg says, “At the end of the half-year, we have completely eliminated the net financial debt and improved our free cash flow to €74 million. It’s many years since Heidelberg was last in this situation, but we won’t be complacent and will systematically leverage our future potential to keep the development of these key figures positive.”

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