Second-half revenue expected to be higher due to double-digit growth in order intake

  • Roughly 28% increase in order intake, particularly underpinned by double-digit growth in the Special and Sheetfed segments
  • Koenig & Bauer’s strategy paying off: in addition to trade fair success in China, successful entry into the corrugated board production market
  • P24x efficiency programme spurring earnings, €26.2m improvement in EBIT to €6.4m despite pandemic-induced revenue decline
  • Increase of €103.3m in free cash flow to €14.3m, taking Koenig & Bauer back to its pre-pandemic net financial position 

The first half of 2021 went well for the Koenig & Bauer Group (“Koenig & Bauer”) in several respects. Customer orders were up roughly 28% on the same period in the previous year. This performance was particularly underpinned by the increase of around 45% in orders in the Special segment. Orders were up on the previous year in all parts of this segment. In June, Group subsidiary MetalPrint recorded one of the best order intakes in its history. This shows that, after a difficult first half for this segment, the order situation is improving and that the global economic engine is increasingly gaining momentum, allowing Koenig & Bauer to face the future with confidence and in a good position. Order intake was also up in the Sheetfed segment again, rising by around 30%, with the sharply growing and more pandemic-resistant packaging printing market accounting for the bulk of this growth. This enabled us to further expand our position in the market for sheetfed offset presses for packaging printing. The market leadership achieved in 2020 after the substantial increase in market share was particularly gratifying.

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At this year's China Print in Beijing at the end of June Koenig & Bauer posted a new record in new orders.

Koenig & Bauer’s strategy paying off: in addition to a record order for the company at China Print in Beijing, five CorruCUT presses were successfully marketed in July – further progress being made with the sustainability initiative

Koenig & Bauer also celebrated a number of successes in China – at this year’s China Print in Beijing at the end of June a new record was set for this trade fair in terms of the number of orders received. At the core of the presentation was the world premiere of the new Rapida 105 generation. The large-format Rapida 145 and Rapida 164 sheetfed offset presses were also in high demand, reflecting the particular need for high-quality packaging, particularly for mobile telephones and consumer electronics. All told, this shows that customers’ spending reticence is beginning to dissipate in many areas. Nevertheless, some new investments are being postponed due to the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. In the first half of 2021, this mainly concerned incoming orders in digital decor and corrugated printing. However, as of the end of July 2021, a total of five machines from the CorruCUT series had been successfully marketed to beta customers as well as new customers.

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Further progress made in the sustainability offensive

The improvement of around €26.2m is mainly due to the more efficient implementation of the P24x personnel measures, which is also reflected in the adjustment of the restructuring provisions for the efficiency programme, as well as the P24x cost-reduction effects and reduced functional costs, despite the volume and margin effects, the lower use of short-time working and the extraordinary income achieved in the previous year. In particular, Koenig & Bauer succeeded in replacing the cost-reduction effects from the use of short-time working in the previous year with long-term and sustainable measures under P24x.

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In July, five machines of the CorruCUT family were successfully marketed.

Strong performance in the segments – Special and Sheetfed with double-digit growth in order intake

The individual segments were affected to differing degrees by the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic in the first half of 2021.
In the Sheetfed segment, order intake in particular was very favourable in the first half of 2021 thanks to growth in the orders for large-format sheetfed offset presses and parts of the post-press range, for example, rising by 30.1% to €374.7m as of 30 June 2021.
Order intake in the Digital & Webfed segment was heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in the first half-year of 2021. Growth in flexo presses for flexible packaging was unable to make up for lower orders for web offset presses. Customers’ pandemic-related reluctance to invest in digital decor and corrugated board printing was also reflected in a 25.9% decline in order intake to €42.0m.
At €218.7m, order intake in the Special segment exceeded the previous year’s figure by 45.1%. Orders were up in all areas (Banknote Solutions: banknote and security printing; MetalPrint: metal packaging; Coding: coding solutions for all industries; Kammann: direct decoration of hollow bodies made of glass, plastic and metal). In June, MetalPrint achieved one of the best order intakes in the Company’s history, following a difficult first half of 2021.

Slight organic revenue growth now expected for 2021 – medium-term targets confirmed

As already mentioned, Koenig & Bauer was able to successfully implement further measures under its P24x efficiency programme in the first half of 2021. In this connection, the Management Board announced on 23 June 2021 its decision to waive all compulsory redundancies at the Company’s German facilities in 2021 and 2022 due to the progress made in achieving the personnel targets defined under the P24x programme.