Heidelberg has released its latest six month financial results and says it is well on track despite the difficult global economic situation.
It has seen a slight improvement in sales in the key EMEA region thanks to growth in the packaging segment. After adjustment for exchange rate movements, the technology company achieved sales that matched the previous year as did incoming orders after six months. The adjusted operating result (EBITDA) improved on the same period of the previous year. In addition, the corresponding adjusted EBITDA margin increased to 9.2 per cent from 8.2 per cent the previous year.
The company says packaging and label printing is experiencing structural growth due to burgeoning worldwide demand for packaged goods. The market launch of new technologies from Heidelberg for this growth segment enjoyed success. For example, the Gallus One digital label press impressed at the major industry trade show LabelExpo and attracted a great deal of interest from customers. The Boardmaster press for high productivity in packaging printing also generated further sales. In parallel with this, incoming orders for the Packaging Solutions segment saw a significant increase of around 16 percent in the first half-year.
Ludwin Monz, chief executive at Heidelberg, says, “Given the stable growth of packaging printing, we are continuously further expanding our portfolio in this sector.”
Besides effects associated with the product and country mix, price adjustments to compensate for higher personnel, material, and energy costs have also had a positive impact. The net result after taxes for the half-year remained clearly positive. Compared with the previous year, higher tax expenditure, increased pension-related interest costs, and the lack of positive special items had a bearing on the result.
The cash generated from operating activities (operating cash flow) improved substantially, in particular due to rigorous management of inventories and receivables (working capital). Despite this positive development, the free cash flow after six months was down on the previous year’s level, which had included special items.
Tania von der Goltz, chief financial officer at Heidelberg, says, “The current free cash flow situation underlines the necessity to use further impetus from our value creation programme to generate resources for growth in segments such as the lucrative digital printing sector.
“The programme’s analysis phase is ongoing. Heidelberg still plans to achieve a positive free cash flow at the end of the financial year.”
Heidelberg’s forecast for financial year 2023/2024 remains as it published on June 14, 2023. Assuming the global economy does not see weaker growth than predicted by the economic research institutions, the company expects sales in financial year 2023/2024 to match the previous year’s figure. Also, it expects the adjusted EBITDA margin to remain at the previous year’s level.