Koenig & Bauer says strong revenue and earnings in the fourth quarter helped it meet or exceed targets for 2017 and set it on track to those for 2021.
While its security printing business remained strong, growth came from packaging markets - for printing cardboard, metal, glass and hollow container decorating and coding as well as with new products such as rotary and flatbed die-cutters.
Chief executive Claus Bolza-Schünemann said market share was widened in all business fields. "In addition to the market success of the rotary diecutter, the sharp rise in new contracts for flatbed die-cutters over the previous year exceeded our expectations substantially."
Group revenue and earnings growth was particularly underpinned by expansion of its service business, which increased from 23.5 per cent to 25.6 per cent oif group revenue. Chief financial officer Mathias Dähn says this shows plans to increase the share of service business to 30 per cent by 2021 was beginning to bear fruit.
"We want to create satisfied and loyal customers by offering excellent service," he said. "At the same time, rising service revenue is an important measure of customer satisfaction for us."
Intensive work on further applications in packaging, digital and industrial printing has brought rewards in areas such as corrugated board printing, flourishing as a result of home-shopping and demand for more colourful outer packaging.
Koenig & Bauer has also been working to expand from presses for three-piece can printing into that for two-piece cans market, and introduced a new press for this last May for which two orders have been taken.
With revenue up 4.3 per cent on last year (1,167.1 million Euros), the group achieved a mid-term organic revenue growth rate of around four per cent p.a., "more than making up for the further decline of 25 million Euros in revenue from newspaper and commercial web presses".
New orders rose by 10.1 per cent over 2016 (1,149.7 million Euros) to 1,266.3 million Euros, and fourth-quarter orders were up 29.7 per cent on the previous year.
The increased revenue in tandem with more service business across the group caused a rise in profit, although earnings came under strain from production service provider KBA-Industrial Solutions and measures to optimise flexible packaging printing. Adjusted for the non-recurring income in the previous year, EBIT climbed from 62.9 million Euros to 81.4 million Euros.
Pictured: The CS MetalCan two-price can decorating system, which is taking Koenig & Bauer into new markets