Heidelberg raises earnings target after China, Europe bounce

Heidelberg has announced it has raised its target operating return for 2020/21 as demand recovers in China and across Europe and its transformation strategy continues to play out.

The company anticipates its EBITDA margin, excluding restructuring result, will grow to approximately seven per cent, despite the coronavirus pandemic looking like sending sales for the year down by between 450 million to 500 million euros, compared to the previous year.

A previous outlook released by Heidelberg pointed to an EBITDA margin equal to that of the previous year at 4.3 per cent.

Print volumes are also on the rise with packaging printing exceeding the previous year’s level, Heidelberg said.

“The successful roll-out of the transformation measures has enabled Heidelberg to achieve a clearly positive operating result, despite the huge pressures caused by COVID-19,” Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer said.

“When it comes to both our finances and our balance sheet, we have done our homework. Signs of recovery are now emerging on the markets in China and Europe that are important to us.

“That is why our EBITDA target margin excluding restructuring result is being increased to around 7 per cent. The growing interest in our contract business and strong demand for our electromobility charging stations are also grounds to be optimistic about the future.”

Heidelberg says the transformation measures launched in March 2020 have compensated for the negative effect on earnings caused by a COVID-19-induced drop in sales.

“As a result, after nine months of financial year 2020/21 (April 1 to December 31, 2020), the operating result including effects from the measures that have been implemented was above that of the same period of the previous year,” the company said.

“In addition, the period under review saw a slightly positive net result after taxes, and significantly reduced net financial debt.”

The news comes after Heidelberg announced its planned sale of Gallus Group to Swiss packaging company, benpac holding ag, had not been completed earlier this month as planned.

The German print technology manufacturer said benpac was due to pay 120 million euros ($A190m) to Heidelberg by February 1, the day that was agreed upon to close the deal.

Gallus Group and its five sites and 430 employees now continue under the Heidelberg umbrella.

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