KBA Q1 orders up, as Asia Pacific leads the charge

The German press manufacturer posted a Q1 pre-tax loss of €21.3m (A$29.9m) – an improvement on a €35.2m loss for the same period in 2009 – following a 13.5% drop in sales at its web and special press division, to €124m.

However, new orders were up 43.2% year-on-year to €314.4m, which helped propel the group’s order backlog to €439.6m, up more than €100m compared to €335m at the end of last year.

Group sales remained sluggish, falling 4.7% year-on-year to €209.8m, although sheetfed sales growth of 11.7%, to €85.8m, helped offset the fall in web/special presses sales.

Regionally, a more buoyant market in China boosted Asia Pacific sales to €58.1m from €36.8m, accounting for 27.7% of total sales.

Despite cost-cutting measures contributing to a significant improvement in KBA’s gross profit margin, which climbed to more than 21% from just 13% a year earlier, the weak quarterly sales performance meant that the company posted an operating loss €19.4m and cashflow from operating activity stood at -€41.3m, compared with €19.2m in Q1 2009.

Yet, while cash levels dropped and bank loans rose, KBA’s net debt of €16.7m remained within its long-term credit facilities.

The company is continuing to restructure its business to better cope with the impact of the recession and its current staff count of just more than 6,500 is 1,000 fewer than a year ago. The headcount is expected to fall further to 6,000.

Read the original article at www.printweek.com.

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