Preliminary figures for financial year 2007/2008

(PresseBox) ( Heidelberg, )
- Sales and operating result down on last year
- Business hit by struggling global economy and strong euro
- No market improvement on horizon for current financial year 2008/2009
- First quarter 2008/2009: Sales are expected to be down on previous year's figure; operating result (EBIT) predicted to be negative
- Management Board drawing up package of measures
- Proposed dividend matches last year's EUR 0.95

Market conditions worsened considerably for Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) in financial year 2007/2008 (April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008), with sales, operating result and net profit all down on the previous year's levels. "Poorer economic prospects have taken their toll over the past financial year, in particular during the second six months," stated Heidelberg CEO Bernhard Schreier. "This has led to a reluctance to invest in a number of regions," he added.

There is no market improvement on the horizon for the current financial year 2008/2009. With drupa - the hugely important trade show running from May 29 to June 11, 2008 - still to come, it is difficult to predict how sales for financial year 2008/2009 will develop. Consequently, Heidelberg will be publishing its sales forecast for the current financial year at the beginning of August with its figures for the first quarter.

However, it is already predictable that the sales for the first quarter of financial year 2008/2009 will be down on the previous year's figure, and that the operating result (EBIT) will be negative. Like the first quarter 2008/2009, the entire fiscal year will be affected by non-recurring expenditures for drupa, the start-up of series production for a number of new products and the strong euro. For these reasons, the operating result for the entire fiscal year 2008/2009 will be down on previous fiscal year's figure.

"After drupa but before the Annual General Meeting on July 18, we will announce appropriate measures to secure our leading market position and financial performance in the long term," stated Schreier. "Our aim is to improve our cost structures and lessen the effect of exchange rates in the medium term by internationalizing purchasing and production. We will also be stepping up our service and consumables operations to further reduce our dependency on economic cycles," he added.

Preliminary figures for financial year 2007/2008 Preliminary sales by the Heidelberg Group for the year as a whole totaled EUR 3.670 billion, 3.5 percent down on the previous year's figure (previous year: EUR 3.803 billion). Business slowed in the fourth quarter in particular due to the effects on the world economy of the financial crisis in the U.S. and customers' reluctance to make investments in the run-up to the all-important drupa trade show.

Preliminary incoming orders in the financial year just closed amounted to EUR 3.649 billion, around 5 percent down on the previous year's figure (previous year: EUR 3.853 billion). Whereas the high volume of orders achieved in the previous year was exceeded in Germany, fears of a recession and further effects of the credit crunch made U.S. customers less ready to invest. Business was also less than satisfactory in the United Kingdom and Japan. On a more positive note, orders were boosted by the recovery in the Chinese market.

The preliminary order backlog at March 31, 2008 was EUR 874 million (previous year: EUR 1.018 billion).

In the period under review, the Heidelberg Group recorded an operating result of EUR 268 million (previous year, adjusted for positive one-time effects: EUR 302 million). This represents an operating return on sales of 7.3 percent (adjusted value for the previous year: 7.9 percent). The previous year's figure was boosted by the sale of Linotype GmbH and the R&D Center in Heidelberg ("sale and lease back").

The preliminary net profit amounted to EUR 142 million (previous year, adjusted for positive one-time effects: EUR 144 million). At EUR 215 million, the free cash flow remains at a high level (previous year: EUR 229 million). Based on sales, Heidelberg was able to reduce the working capital by 1.1 percentage points to 32.5 percent.

"We have once again achieved a good free cash flow in a difficult economic situation. Based on the preliminary figures of financial year 2007/2008 the Management Board intends to propose the Supervisory Board and subsequently the Annual General Meeting a dividend of EUR 0.95, which matches last year's dividend," said Heidelberg CFO Dirk Kaliebe.

Performance in the divisions and regions
In the Press Division (offset printing), preliminary sales were slightly down on the previous year at EUR 3.213 billion (previous year: EUR 3.321 billion). Preliminary incoming orders fell by 5 percent to EUR 3.2 billion (previous year: EUR 3.367 billion). At EUR 239 million, the preliminary operating result for this division was below the previous year's adjusted figure of EUR 254 million.

The Postpress Division (finishing) failed to meet the targets set. Exchange rate movements and the reluctance of U.S. printshops to invest were the main reasons for the division's preliminary sales, incoming orders and operating result falling below the previous year's level. Preliminary sales amounted to EUR 427 million (previous year: EUR 445 million), preliminary incoming orders were EUR 419 million (previous year: EUR 449 million), and the preliminary operating result EUR -7 million (previous year: EUR 7 million).

In the EMEA, North America, Latin America, and Asia/Pacific regions, sales and incoming orders either matched the previous year's level or fell below it. Sales and incoming orders only climbed significantly in the Eastern Europe region. Growth was particularly strong in Russia in the year under review. It was a different story for the Asia/Pacific region where, despite the recovery in the Chinese market, the figures fell below the previous year due to the extremely unfavorable currency situation for European suppliers in Japan. Incoming orders slackened off in the North America region, in particular in the second half of the year.

At March 31, 2008, the Heidelberg Group had a workforce of 19,596 worldwide (previous year: 19,171). Most of the new appointments were in the field of production and global sales.

Other dates:
The scheduled publication date for the Annual Report 2007/2008 is June 10, 2008. As this coincides with the drupa trade show, a press release will replace the usual press conference.

For further details, visit the Internet Press Lounge at

Important note:
This Press Information contains statements about future development that are based on assumptions and estimates by the management of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen Aktiengesellschaft. Even if the management is of the opinion that these assumptions and estimates are accurate, future actual developments and future actual results may differ significantly from these assumptions and estimates due to a variety of factors. These factors can include changes to the overall economic climate, changes to exchange rates and interest rates and changes in the graphic arts industry. Heidelberger Druckmaschinen Aktiengesellschaft provides no guarantee that future developments and the results actually achieved in the future will agree with the assumptions and estimates set out in this press release and assumes no liability for such.
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