Heidelberg has recorded its best sales and results in almost a decade, reporting that its sales in the final quarter rose by 20 per cent over the previous year.
With a further improvement in the net profit after taxes to €36m ($57m), it has achieved its stated objective for the year as a whole of a sustained return to profitability. The company says the improvement of nearly €60m in the free cash flow to €24m also underlines the success of the strategic realignment towards a digital company that it has initiated.

Rainer Hundsdörfer, chief executive at Heidelberg, says, “Heidelberg has achieved its targets for 2016/2017 thanks to an excellent final quarter. The net profit after taxes improved once again and we’ve created a solid basis for the company’s further development.

Hundsdörfer adds, “We now need to gear our strategy towards becoming a digital company focused on customer needs. This will also bring the expected growth in sales and a further substantial improvement in profitability in the future.

Heidelberg Group sales after 12 months rose slightly to €2.524bn (previous year: €2.512bn). The more substantial growth in sales originally planned for the year as a whole did not materialise because of the postponement of planned acquisitions until the new reporting year. In the period under review, incoming orders of €2.593bn bucked the industry trend, up on the previous year’s level of €2.492bn).

Following the GFC in 2008, Heidelberg suffered falling orders and it needed financial assistance from state and federal governments. Since then, the company has reinvented itself, going into partnerships with digital manufacturers such as Ricoh and Fujifilm. Heidelberg says it It is on target to launch the world’s first B1 digital inkjet sheetfed press, the Primefire 106.

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