In addition to the general investment restraint on the part of many customers in the corona crisis, travel bans, lockdowns and other restrictions significantly affected the business figures of Koenig & Bauer in the first half of 2020.
The restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic particularly impeded deliveries of the presses to the international customers as well as the worldwide deployment of the assembly staff and service technicians. At €480.2m, orders were 16.2% lower than in the previous year. At €404.5m, revenue fell short of the previous year by 20.1%. On the cost side, massive measures were taken to address the effects of the crisis, introducing short-time working from 1 April 2020 alongside other steps. EBIT improved substantially from –€34.9m in Q1 to –€6m in Q2. For the first half of the year, EBIT was –€40.9m after €0.6m in the previous year.
Despite substantially lower trade receivables and higher customer prepayments, the half-year loss and the increase in inventories had major impacts on cash flows from operating activities, which came to –€68.6m (2019: –€96.5m). The equity ratio stood at 32.2% at the end of June 2020.
Despite the substantial gains with large-format sheetfed offset presses and folder gluers, order intake in the Sheetfed segment declined by 12.9% over the previous year’s figure of €330.6m to €288m due to lower orders for medium and half-format presses. Revenue of €205.5m was 20.6% lower than the previous year’s figure (€258.9m) for delivery-related reasons and due to the effects of the pandemic. Order intake in the Digital & Web segment came to €56.7m, down from €89.9m in the previous year, due to lower orders in the web offset press business and for flexible packaging printing. At €51.6m, revenue was down on the previous year (€64.5m).
Claus Bolza-Schünemann, CEO, noted, “In view of the high volatility and the great uncertainties surrounding the severity and duration of the coronavirus pandemic and the success of health, economic and monetary policies, the further global economic development is uncertain. Given these uncertain underlying conditions, it is currently not yet possible to issue any revenue and earnings guidance for 2020 for our group. The management board is working intensively on the Performance 2024 efficiency programme to increase the operating profitability. We have applied for a KfW loan to supplement the existing syndicated credit facilities. In addition, improvements in working capital and cash flow are at the top of the agenda together with the strategic focus on packaging printing and digital services.”