Despite challenging underlying conditions such as supply chain constraints and the associated increases in material and energy prices, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Koenig & Bauer improved significantly over the previous year in 2021.
In addition to the P24x efficiency programme, this performance was largely underpinned by the company’s range of products and solutions as the group masters all industrial printing processes on almost all substrates – including corrugated board – and provides software, systems and services for end-to-end printing and finishing processes. It primarily addresses the structurally growing market for packaging that is not only pandemic-resistant but also offers growth opportunities in view of the boom in e-commerce business and the rising demand for household-size food packaging.
At the end of December 2021, Koenig & Bauer had an order backlog worth €806.8m, which was also high compared to earlier years, reflecting the 32.4% year-on-year increase in customer orders for printing presses and services. Accordingly, order intake came to €1,290.6m, up from €974.7m in the previous year. Revenue climbed by a total of 8.5% to €1,115.8m. In this way, Koenig & Bauer was able to exceed the VDMA industry-wide average of 22.5% and 4.9%, respectively, for order intake and revenue in the printing press sector. This particularly also applies to the fourth quarter, which was comparatively weak across the industry as a whole due to procurement difficulties. With an increase of 19.1% in order intake, Koenig & Bauer exceeded the industry average of 7.1% and, with revenue growth of 24.3%, far exceeded the negative industry-wide trend of -1.8% (year-on-year figures in all cases).
2022 will be another year of transformation in view of the currently unforeseeable consequences of the war in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus as a result, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the protracted supply chain constraints. Accordingly, Koenig & Bauer anticipates a slight year-on-year increase in Group revenue and the operating EBIT margin in 2022. At the date on which the consolidated financial statements were completed, a reliable assessment of the full impact of the aforementioned risks was not possible due to the prevailing uncertainties, meaning that no forecast for 2022 was possible.
The first few months of 2022 continue to be dominated worldwide by COVID-19, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, protracted delivery shortfalls and the related increase in the cost of materials, reduced transport capacity and higher energy costs. As a consequence of this and due to the relatively muted conditions in the sector during the fourth quarter of 2021, industry association VDMA has scaled back its previous full-year forecast for 2022 for real production growth in the German mechanical and plant engineering sector from 7% to 4%.
Koenig & Bauer confirms its medium-term targets of revenue of €1.3bn, an EBIT margin of at least 7% and a reduction in net working capital to a maximum of 25% of annual revenue, which is to be achieved after the completion of the P24x efficiency programme.
The Annual Report can be downloaded as a PDF file from here.