Koenig & Bauer AG has confirmed on the basis of its preliminary (and as yet unaudited figures), that it has exceeded its own forecast for preliminary Group EBIT for 2021.
Despite the ongoing pandemic in 2021 and a challenging procurement environment, EBIT of around €29m was achieved through the acceleration of the savings effects in the P24x efficiency programme and the more efficient implementation of the related personnel measures. This was also due to a high earnings contribution from the Special segment in the fourth quarter in particular. At around 2.6%, the EBIT margin thus exceeded the company’s own forecast of 2.0% for 2021. EBIT improved by around €96m from €-67.9m in the previous year. The previous year had included exceptionals of a net €-49m, while an adjustment of around €23m to the P24x restructuring provisions was recognised in the year under review. In the final quarter, Group EBIT of around €12m was recorded, almost twice as much as in the same quarter of the previous year (€6.2m).
What in some cases was an explosive rise in raw material and energy prices led to higher material costs in a high single-digit million euro range in 2021, which it was only possible to absorb with a delayed effect and partially by means of price increases during the year.
The gross savings from the P24x efficiency programme came to around €31m after nine months, reaching roughly €46m at the end of 2021. Announced at the end of September 2020, the programme aims to achieve rising annual cost savings in the order of more than €100m by 2024; gross savings of more than 30% had been budgeted for 2021.
“This demonstrates that we have made good progress with our efficiency programme despite the ongoing pandemic situation and a challenging procurement environment. This is our road back to the planned group growth in the medium term. To this end, we are focusing on packaging and a portfolio strategy in attractive markets, on synergistic effects in production and on the further development of our service business to improve our customers’ total cost of ownership,” says Dr Andreas Pleßke, Chief Executive Officer.
Group revenue reached the forecast range of €1,100 – 1,135m in 2021, coming to around € 1,116m. This corresponds to an increase of around 8.5% compared to the previous year (€1,028.6m). In the fourth quarter alone, revenue rose significantly from €264.1m in the same quarter of the previous year to around €328m, underpinned in particular by the Sheetfed and Special segments. Order intake stood at around €1,291m at the end of the year, up roughly 32% on the previous year (€974.7m). In the final quarter, customer orders were worth some €312m, almost 19.0% more than in the same quarter of the previous year.
The order backlog was valued at around €807m at the end of 2021, equivalent to an increase of around 28.0% compared to the previous year.
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 full-year revenue, which is to be achieved after the completion of the P24x efficiency programme.