Heidelberg sees high level of demand despite economic uncertainties

Heidelberg is seeing a high level of demand for its products despite economic uncertainties, with the company saying that it is “well on track after nine months of the current 2022/23 financial year”.

“Incoming orders after nine months remained stable and at a high level compared with the year before. Despite economic uncertainties, they totalled €1.86 billion (previous year’s figure: €1.88 million),” the company said.

“On the balance sheet date, the order backlog amounted to nearly €1 billion, which lays a good foundation for the coming financial year. Sales in all three quarters of the current financial year exceeded the respective figures for the year before. At €1.73 billion, the nine-month total was 10 per cent up on the previous year (€1.57 billion).”

In the company’s third, from October to December 2022, it reported incoming orders of €630 million.

According to Heidelberg, this led to a high order backlog of almost €1 billion. At €609 million, sales in the third quarter were around 5 per cent up on the equivalent quarter of the previous year.

Its EBITDA was €18 million higher than in the previous year, which it attributed to the positive impact of rising sales.

“We had a positive third quarter and were able to further increase our sales and operating result. Looking ahead, the coming months will continue to be affected by the expected increases in material, energy, and personnel costs,” Heidelberg CEO Dr. Ludwin Monz said.

“We will continue to counter this through price rises and maintain our cost discipline. We are therefore very confident of achieving our targets for the year,” he added.

Heidelberg also said that packaging printing (its Packaging Solutions segment) exhibited particularly strong growth in the third quarter.

Incoming orders from October to the end of December 2022 were 18 per cent up on the previous year’s figure. Over the nine-month period, order intake improved by five per cent compared with the same period of the previous year.

At €812 million, it said sales after nine months were over 22 per cent higher than the year before.

In commercial printing (its Print Solutions segment), sales after nine months climbed to €898 million, while incoming orders fell slightly.

However, in these nine months, Heidelberg reported a negative free cash flow of €16 million from a positive cash flow of €69 million the previous year.

It said this lower figure is mainly due to the usual production-related increase in inventories and effects associated with the supply of parts.

It added that revenues from the sale of assets in the reporting period also fell in relation to the previous year. Due to the negative free cash flow, its net financial debt at the end of the third quarter was €26 million.

On the other hand, it said it is making progress with its equity ratio, which increased to around 21 per cent. Alongside the higher actuarial interest rate for pensions in Germany at the end of December, it said this is due to the positive net result after taxes at the end of the quarter.

“A low net financial debt and a higher equity ratio put Heidelberg in a good financial position,” its CFO Tania von der Goltz said.

“In view of the uncertain situation at present, we will continue to work on our resilience and, in particular, keep an eye on our costs.”

Heidelberg continues to expect sales figures to increase to around €2.3 billion (2021/22: €2.18 billion) for financial year 2022/23.

Despite the likelihood of cost increases, it said profitability is also set to improve further.

Heidelberg is still predicting a further rise in the EBITDA margin to at least 8 per cent for the 2022/23 financial year (2021/22: 7.3 per cent). The net result after taxes is also expected to improve slightly compared with 2021/22 (€ 33 million).

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