Heidelberg achieved total sales of €1.68bn ($2.48bn) for the first nine months of this finacial year, 10 per cent below the previous year’s level of €1.80bn.

In the third quarter EBITDA rose 20 per cent to €49m; net result after taxes rose by 150 per cent to €18m, while the order backlog of €739m grew around 26 per cent, up on the previous year’s figure of €586m.

The company reports sales for this quarter of €608m, down from 2016 levels of €640m. It says the launch of series production for the drupa innovations at the end of the financial year has contributed to the sales slowdown, as the new presses take longer to get out of the factory to printers. Heidelberg says this is balanced by incoming orders at €1.99bn, approximately 4.5 percent higher than the previous year of €1.904bn.

It expects better results are to come, as it continues its transition to digital. Dirk Kaliebe, chief financial officer AT, Heidelberg, says, “We have the financial strength to actively shape our route into the digital world. The balanced financing framework also gives us the freedom to drive forward new business models through targeted acquisitions.”

EBITDA excluding special items improved to €49m in the third quarter compared to the previous year of €40m. When looking at the numbers over the financial year to date, they are still down. The total EBITDA after nine months is €94m, while in the previous year it was €119m. At €-2m, special items in the quarter under review equalled the same as the previous year. The total figure for special items after nine months was €-8m, an improvement on the previous year of €-24m.

Heidelberg notes that free cash flow in the third quarter, was slightly negative at €-10m, and overall, after nine months, it was also at €-10m. Compared to the financial year-end on March 31, 2016, the equity of the Heidelberg Group dropped to €246m as at December 31, 2016. The company says this was due primarily to changes in the actuarial interest rates for pensions. Consequently, the equity ratio on the balance sheet date was around 11.4 percent, up from the previous quarter of 6 per cent.

As a result, the net financial debt at €282m slightly increased from June 30, 2016 levels of €276m, while the leverage continued to be below the target value of 2 at 1.7.

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