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Apr 22, 2010
Heidelberg annual loss deepens, but sales rebound in fourth quarter
Incoming orders in the financial year as a whole added up to EUR 2.371 billion and to EUR 678 million in the fourth quarter
• Fourth quarter with increased sales volume and positive operating result excluding special items
• Cautious investment behavior impacts on sales and profit for the year as a whole
• Figures confirm company's own forecasts

As expected, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) recorded a significant fall in sales and profit in financial year 2009/10 (April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010) due to the overall cautious investment behavior in the print media industry. The company's own forecast made in October 2009 has been borne out.
 
At a total of EUR 2.371 billion, preliminary incoming orders were below the previous year's figure of EUR 2.906 billion but showed a marked upward trend in the second half of the financial year. Preliminary sales by the Heidelberg Group fell to EUR 2.306 billion (previous year: EUR 2.999 billion). The savings from the package of cost-cutting measures were achieved ahead of schedule and mitigated the results significantly, particularly in the second half of the year. They were therefore able in large part to compensate for the shortfall in profit contributions resulting from the substantial decrease in sales. The preliminary operating result, excluding special items, came to EUR -130 million at the end of the financial year (previous year: EUR -49 million) and was thus in line with the most recent forecast. Special items for restructuring measures amounted to a total of EUR 28 million during the financial year as a whole.  

"The Heidelberg Group was able to maintain its leading market position and expand in a number of sectors in what was a difficult market environment in financial year 2009/10. A marked upward trend was evident in the second half of the year, which was primarily influenced by the traditionally strong fourth quarter. Now the aim of our further cost-cutting measures introduced at the end of March is to achieve a break-even operating result for the next financial year assuming stable economic development and furthermore an economic value added (EVA) in all areas of business in the medium term," said Heidelberg CEO Bernhard Schreier.

The upward trend that was already apparent within the financial year as a whole continued in the fourth quarter (January 1 to March 31, 2010). "We recorded a further increase in our sales volume of around 24 percent on the previous quarter and, for the first time since the economic and financial crisis started, we achieved a positive operating result excluding special items," said the company's CFO Dirk Kaliebe. "The level of incoming orders in the fourth quarter of around EUR 680 million underlines the fact that our business volume has stabilized amid a slight improvement in economic conditions. Compared to the previous year, the free cash flow has considerably improved over the year as a whole thanks in part to successful working capital management."

However, the sales mix and non-recurring costs resulting from factors such as statutory partial retirement had a temporary negative impact on the operating result. The cost cutting measures have successfully been realized also in the fourth quarter of the financial year.

At EUR 678 million, preliminary incoming orders in the fourth quarter were up on the level of the previous quarter (EUR 609 million) and well above the figure for the same quarter of the previous year (EUR 474 million). Preliminary sales rose to EUR 715 million (previous quarter: EUR 578 million). The preliminary operating result excluding special items improved, rising to EUR 11 million from EUR -13 million in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter alone, special items amounted to EUR 48 million. The preliminary free cash flow was EUR -46 million (previous quarter: EUR 3 million). In the financial year as a whole the preliminary free cash flow improved to EUR -62 million compared to the previous year (previous year: EUR -201 million).
 
Employee numbers fell by a further 1,524 in the fourth quarter of 2009/10. As of March 31, 2010, the Heidelberg Group thus had a workforce of 16,496 worldwide (previous year: 18,926).
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