During the first three months of fiscal year 2003/2004 (April 1 to June 30), Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) recorded sales of around 720 million Euro (previous year: 930 million Euro). Incoming orders were 760 million Euro (previous year: 1.1 billion Euro), whereas last year's figure had benefited from the Ipex trade fair held in Birmingham, UK, in April 2002.
"The reluctance to invest among commercial printers in virtually all markets continued during the first quarter. The weak demand in the USA and Europe had a particularly strong impact on the Sheetfed division in this quarter", stated Bernhard Schreier, CEO of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG. "The current economic climate does not allow concrete sales and profit forecasts for the current fiscal year."
The operating result of the Heidelberg Group was -59 million Euro (previous year: 21 million Euro profit). The net result for the period under review was -77 million Euro (previous year: 12 million Euro profit). "As expected, the lack of contribution margins led to a negative result for the first quarter", stated Dr. Herbert Meyer, CFO at Heidelberg.
As of June 30, 2003, the Heidelberg Group had a workforce of
some 24,100 worldwide (previous year: around 24,700). Since April
1, 2002, the Company has reduced its staffing levels worldwide by
around 2,300 on a comparable basis, including approximately 600 in
the first quarter of 2003/2004. Overall, Heidelberg is looking to
reduce its staffing levels worldwide by around 3,200 over the
period April 1, 2002, to March 31, 2004.
Developments in the divisions:
Weak sales in Sheetfed led to a negative result for the first quarter, first signs of improvement in Web Systems and Digital
Sales in the Sheetfed Division fell from around 700 million Euro to 500 million Euro. Incoming orders dropped by almost 35 percent to 551 million Euro. Customers in the major Western markets, in particular, are deferring investments in large printing systems. This situation is being further exacerbated by increasingly tough competition from Japanese manufacturers that has emerged as a result of exchange rate influences. The Sheetfed Division recorded an operating result of -18 million Euro (previous year: 74 million Euro profit), among other things due to lower capacity utilization.
In the Digital and Web Systems Divisions, sales remained stable and the operating result improved. "Initial successes of the site concentration in the Digital Division and of staff cutbacks in Web Systems had a positive effect on results", stated Dr. Herbert Meyer. "Sluggish demand also affected the Postpress Division. This sector can only expect an improvement in results after the site consolidations have been concluded", he added.
Business in the regions mostly restrained
Restrained sales developments in all regions reflected the continuing weakness in global demand for investment goods. Only the Eastern Europe region came close to repeating the satisfactory figures of the previous year, with sales of around 70 million Euro. In the Asia/Pacific region, China remains a growth market. In this country, Heidelberg expanded its position during the first quarter of 2003/2004.
For further information:
Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG
Tel: +49 (0)6221 92 60 20
Fax: +49 (0)6221 92 60 61