After more than meeting expectations in its fourth quarter, Koenig & Bauer says a high order backlog and well filled project pipeline has it on track to meet 2018 targets.
The group says it is making solid progress on projects to further boost profits by 2021. As part of this, service revenue has climbed from 67.4 million Euros in the previous year to 71.8 million Euros in quarter.
Group order intake of 250.9 million Euros was lower than for the previous year, which had been influenced by a major security project.
Chief executive Claus Bolza-Schünemann says as well as the service business, Koenig & Bauer also progressed in the flourishing packaging print market: "With our customer-centric solutions, we were able to increase order intake in cardboard and film printing, metal decorating, marking and coding printing."
Group revenue of 217.3 million Euros and EBIT of -1.9 million Euros were down on the previous year's 259.1 million Euros and 5 million Euros respectively. Chief financial officer Mathias Dähn blames this on the delivery dates requested by customers. He says scheduled press installations in 2018 will mean a busier second half and particularly fourth quarter.
Despite growth in new flexible packaging business, orders in the Digital & Web division were down because of reduced orders for digital and newspaper presses.
EBIT came under pressure from the low revenue level and R&D expenses as well as expenses on future growth, but the group's balance sheet strengthened substantially with cash flows from operating activities rising substantially.
Dähnsays significantly increasing revenue momentum in the second half of the year, together with further progress made by the cost-cutting projects in security printing, purchasing and production will lead to a clear improvement in group earnings. "In the absence of any material deterioration in global economic and political conditions for our international business, we expect to achieve organic growth of around four per cent in group revenue and an EBIT margin of around seven per cent in 2018.
"This will put us on track to achieving our EBIT margin target of nine per cent and an organic revenue growth rate of around four per cent per annum by 2021."