Mr. Monz, how would you briefly summarize the past year?

Dr. Ludwin Monz: Every year has its own challenges, but last year was something special. We had to navigate a variety of different obstacles that you will have read about in the media: We have experienced a financial year that was dominated by the economic repercussions of the war in Ukraine. The inflation this prompted led to a rapid turnaround in monetary policy, interest levels rose at an unprecedented rate and slowed economic development. At the same time, we were troubled by weak demand from China that arose due to local lockdowns. In turn, this caused painful disruptions in global supply chains. The fact that we were nonetheless able to bring the year to a successful close is thanks to the enormous commitment on the part of our staff. In particular, our packaging solutions business performed well in spite of all the turbulence.

Meanwhile, we are finding that change is becoming a constant element of doing business. The cycles of change are growing shorter all the time. Change is not a passing fad, rather it is becoming a part of our necessary day-to-day work. So we have to ensure a solid financial footing and act both strategically and proactively.

On the subject of a solid financial footing: Ms. von der Goltz, you joined ­HEIDELBERG as its Chief Financial Officer in January. What have your impressions of the Company been since then?

Tania von der Goltz: HEIDELBERG has a rich and long tradition. This tradition has to be built on and it has to evolve. This is the only way to achieve success. Our shared future is to find a smart combination of tradition and something new. The passion that I have felt from many of our staff in the past few months gives us an excellent foundation for doing that. The Company has overcome change several times before in its more than 170 years, and it has always been able to count on its employees.

Looking ahead to the coming financial year, what are the key points that the two of you want to take on? Specifically, what do having a solid financial ­footing and acting strategically mean?

Dr. Ludwin Monz: Quite simply, we have to consistently make more money than we spend. At the same time, after years of contraction, we have to build the foundation for HEIDELBERG’s future. We have defined the right business strategy to do so, and it goes well beyond our current core business in sheetfed offset. After all, the printing market comprises much more than sheetfed offset, and our strategy has to reflect that. Meanwhile, we also want to create a future beyond the printing market. That’s why we will be moving HEIDELBERG forward along two lines. Firstly, this means consolidating core printing business – our growth will be focused on the packaging market in the short term. Secondly, broadening the business portfolio by cultivating new business areas.

Tania von der Goltz: And growth needs investment. We brought the financial year to a successful close in a challenging environment, with increases in sales and operating earnings. Nonetheless, HEIDELBERG is operating at a low profitability level. We therefore have to reexamine our cost structures and thus create the space for investment. Growth is a central prerequisite for enhancing our enterprise value. In particular, we are paying attention to cash flow. At first glance, this looks like it has developed well over the last few years, but it has been buoyed by non-recurring effects such as the partial sale of the premises in Wiesloch. We won’t see that again in the future. That’s why we have launched a program with the aim of steering operating cash flow well into the black in order to allow forward-facing investment.

"Our aim is to build on tradition and to create something new."

Tania von der Goltz, CFO

Tania von der Goltz has been CFO at HEIDELBERG since the beginning of 2023 and has also been a member of the Management Board since that date. Most recently, Tania von der Goltz was Senior Vice President Global Financial Strategy at DAX-listed Fresenius Medical Care, where she was responsible for the company’s global financial strategy.

And how would you like to invest your capital?

Dr. Ludwin Monz: It’s important to act based on our existing strength in ­sheetfed offset printing while also venturing into something visibly new. More than 33 percent of the global print volume today is accounted for by the packaging market – and this figure is rising. A growing world population needs more and more packaged goods, and at the same time there is a trend away from plastic and toward sustainable packaging. We have to leverage these developments. Just recently at the Interpack trade fair, we pre­sented our new Boardmaster press, which enables a significant step in productivity for folding carton producers. With this solution, up to 600 meters of folding cartons can be printed and processed every minute. The first ­customers are already installing this press now.

At the same time, digital printing is becoming more significant in some market segments. There have been ambitious attempts in the past that have failed on the market. Where do you think that HEIDELBERG stands in this regard?

Dr. Ludwin Monz: After a year, I can say that we have potential in this field. We already have individual products on the market with the Gallus Labelfire and the Gallus One – now we have to strategically expand this expertise. And this would be a lucrative move for us as well, as we earn on both the press and the consumables in particular. I anticipate particular potential for the Gallus One, which we introduced in the middle of 2022. This is the Company’s first fully digital label printing press – it is highly automated with UV inkjet printing technology and is integrated into HEIDELBERG’s software solutions as well. Thanks to this combination we can offer customers a product that leaves them financially better off: The system reduces the costs of operations over the lifetime of the press and makes digital label printing attractive across the board.


"Sustainability is changing our business and opening up new prospects."

Dr. Ludwin Monz, CEO

Dr. Ludwin Monz has been Chief Executive Officer of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG since April 2022. He is a recognized leader in German industry with capital market experience. Most recently, he headed Carl Zeiss Meditec AG for more than ten years.

HEIDELBERG had already announced its intention to be climate-neutral by 2030. How’s that going?

Dr. Ludwin Monz: We have to aspire to achieve climate neutrality. The path that leads there is still one of many small steps that we are taking all the time. At the same time, we have to keep on improving the efficiency of our products. Furthermore, sustainability is also changing our business and opening up new prospects – as we already said when we were talking about strategy, we want to tap new business areas as well. Let’s not forget, we are still talking about a global megatrend in this decade and the next. One example of this is e-mobility, which is benefiting our charging technology business.

Tania von der Goltz: Sustainability has made it to the heart of our business and will be a key factor for us. Take the example of rising energy costs: Sustainability is a key part of the solution. For example, we operate our foundry in Amstetten. The iron is smelted exclusively using electrical power, which is why we are investing in a photovoltaic system with a peak output of 3.6 MW. This is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of around 1,200 households and saves 1,000 t of CO2 per year. To me, that’s a very real example of how we are integrating our sustainability goal into our operations and creating value added at multiple levels.

One final question for both of you in light of the skills shortage: Would you start at HEIDELBERG as a young person? And why?

Tania von der Goltz: Yes, because we’re a company in flux. And that’s always a good time to get onboard. Anyone new coming to HEIDELBERG now has both an opportunity and a duty to shape the Company. The same goes for everyone who’s been with the Company for a long time as well. As I already said, our aim is to build on tradition and to create something new. At HEIDELBERG, newcomers will often be exposed to several decades of professional experience. Many of our long-serving employees set an example in terms of conviction and commitment.

Dr. Ludwin Monz: We also benefit from a synthesis of experience and fresh stimulus in production. I believe that apprenticeships in printing technology offer enormous potential for the future, because our young apprentices often learn a combination of mechanics, electronics and software programming. You can see the synthesis of tradition and something new here as well.

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