Heidelberg has made a good start to its new financial year thanks to the recovery in Asia and growth in the packaging segment. The company has reported stable incoming orders and has registered strong growth in the digital label and packaging printing spaces.
Heidelberg’s sales in the first three months of the year (April 1 to June 30, 2023) climbed year-on-year from €530 million ($885.9 million) to €544 million ($909.3 million). The adjusted operating result (EBITDA) of €42 million ($70.2 million) was around €18 million ($30 million) – up on the adjusted figure for the corresponding quarter of the previous year.
The corresponding EBITDA margin was 7.7 per cent. This is an increase from the 4.6 per cent it reported last year.
In addition, this year, the net result after taxes improved to €10 million ($16.7 million) from €5 million ($8.36 million) last year.
On a regional level, it said incoming orders grew strongly in Asia, but demand in other markets was rather muted.
In the packaging solutions segment, Heidelberg recorded particularly strong growth of around 25 per cent in incoming orders.
Heidelberg CEO Dr. Ludwin Monz said, “Heidelberg is strategically well positioned in its core market of printing and can thus cushion restrained developments in other areas”.
Thanks to the new Boardmaster that was unveiled in May, the company also said that it already generated initial sales in the first quarter. The demand for the new digital label press, Gallus One, also confirms the market trend.
Free cash flow improved in the first quarter compared with the prior-year figure adjusted for special items but remained negative overall compared with the previous year at a loss of €27 million ($54.1 million). The reason for this was the absence of positive special items, as had been realised in previous years.
Heidelberg chief financial officer Tania von der Goltz commented, “The quarterly result shows that our value creation program, with which we aim to significantly increase our free cash flow, remains vital”.
Under the program, the company intends to continue to offset cost increases with price increases and maintain strict cost discipline.
“The newly agreed financing structure underlines the financial market’s confidence in the strategic approach we have adopted to further boost the company’s financial strength and step up our investments in growth areas,” von der Goltz added.