KBA has reported a healthy start to the year, achieving a rise in orders and revenue stable.

It listed a 20.7 per cent increase in order intake to €321.5m and group revenue remaining at last year’s level. EBit exceeded last year, rising from€2.1m ($3.3m) to €5m. Mathias Dähn, chief financial officer at KBA, says, “The clear focus on the growth markets of packaging, industrial and digital printing as well as the group-wide service initiative launched at the beginning of 2016 are increasingly paying off. We were able to widen the share of service business in group revenue from 24 per cent in the previous year to 26 per cent in the first quarter of 2017.

The sheetfed segment saw more service business and a 12 per cent increase in order intake for medium-format presses, although revenue fell three per cent.

The company has assigned its expanding flexo packaging to the Digital and Web segment. It sees the systems for flexible packaging, a market of the future, as web printing presses. With order intake up 18.5 per cent, the order backlog rose.

More orders in security printing and glass decorating caused new business in the Special segment to rise by 25.3 per cent. Ahead of the Metpack trade exhibition at the beginning of May, metal decorating orders fell short of the good previous year as expected. Revenue rose by 2.6 per cent.

With funds of €159.5m and securities of €21.5m that it can liquidate at short notice, KBA believes it has a stable funding base. The equity ratio rose slightly relative to the increased balance sheet total to 31.3 per cent (end of 2016: 31.1 per cent).

Claus Bolza-Schünemann, chief executive of KBA, says, “We made good headway in the packaging markets. Our youngest subsidiary KBA-Iberica Die Cutters, which specialises in flatbed die-cutters, posted growth in order intake, revenue and EBIT. At the beginning of May, we presented two product innovations in our packaging printing business with a high-performance printing solution for two-part beverage cans, a market which had previously not been addressed, and the world’s first digital printing press for migration-free metal decorating.” 

The group workforce increased by 111 over the previous year to 5,327 employees as of 31 March. In addition to specific recruiting in the expanding service segment and for new applications for the packaging and digital printing markets, 67 employees joined the group with the acquisition of KBA-Iberica Die Cutters. 

The management board expects group revenue to grow more dynamically over the further course of the year, leaving a positive effect on earnings. In the absence of any material deterioration in the underlying economic and political conditions impacting international business, group management expects to achieve organic growth to up to €1.25bn in group revenue and an EBIT margin of around 6 per cent in 2017.

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