Despite supply chain problems and higher material and energy costs, press maker Koenig & Bauer reckons it did better than most in 2021.
Press and other orders rose by almost a third, leading to a 27.7 per cent rise in orders on hand to 806.8 million Euros.
The German group also saw an 8.5 per cent increase in revenue – to 1.12 billion Euros – thanks to a strong closing quarter, and a 80.4 million Euros increase in free cash flow, taking it back to its pre-pandemic net financial position.
These outcomes are among those included in the group’s “modular” annual report, presented this year via a sustainably-produced corrugated cardboard folding box (pictured) and in digital form.
As for 2022, the group says current uncertainties make forecasting challenging, but a “slight year-on-year increase” in revenue and operating EBIT margin is expected.
Koenig & Bauer attributes the “significantly improved” performance to its P24x efficiency programme and unique range of products and solutions, mastering all industrial printing processes on almost all substrates.
The service business – which is becoming increasingly digital – accounted for about 30 per cent of group revenue. The 806.8 million Euros order backlog –also high compared to earlier years –reflected a 32.4 per cent year-on-year increase in printing press and services orders.
Chief executive Andreas Pleßke says 2021 was both a positive and a challenging year, “but together we managed to achieve our annual revenue forecast and to exceed our EBIT target. In addition, we outperformed the industry as a whole.”
The Digital & Webfed segment showed signs of recovery, strengthening in the fourth quarter, with five CorruCut presses and two high-performance digital presses among highlights.
No mention here of newspaper or heatset. Significantly, Pleßke points to the corrugated box of its report summary, under the motto ‘This box was once a newspaper’.
The annual report can be downloaded here.