The Müller Martini group announced that it is looking to initiate restructuring measures in the upcoming months to adjust to what it calls the shrunken global graphics industry. Up to 550 jobs worldwide could be affected by the restructuring.

“In order to survive in strong shape, we cannot avoid the need to operate on a smaller scale,” says CEO Bruno Müller, adding, "However, by concentrating our forces, we will do our utmost to continue to intensify the comprehensive advice we provide to our customers on new investments and in particular in the service area. Our sales and service network regionalization program, which was initiated last year, gives us a good starting point in this context.”

According to Müller Martini, revenues have “fallen massively over the last four years” despite the company maintaining a market lead. The company also attributes the decline to customers, both existing and potential, holding back on capital investment or prevented from investing due to the lack of credit.

The restructuring is to involve looking at consolidating the company’s two main sites at Zofingen and Felben, both in Switzerland, which are currently not operating at sufficient capacity.

Koenig & Bauer AG held its 88th annual general meeting which saw company executives update shareholders on the company’s state of realignment.

The company revealed figures for the first five months of 2013 significantly worse than 2012, a result attributed to a successful drupa show. Group order intake was down 25 percent to €362 million. The Group posted a €2.3 million profit on sales of €1.3 billion over the past year.

“When looking at the industry situation it must be noted that KBA is the only large press manufacturer to have remained in the black operationally and after interest for the fourth year in a row despite considerable restructuring expenses and a substantial value adjustment to fixed assets in our sheetfed division. We know that there is room for improvement and we are pushing forward in many areas to increase profitability.”

The company’s restructuring efforts will continue, meaning the company anticipates similar sales figures for 2013 as 2012, despite a forecasted decline in sales volume for web offset presses.

Official results for the company’s first half of 2013 will be published on August 9th.

Transcontinental announced its second quarter revenues recently which saw the company grow its net income, despite having revenues that were slightly lower than that of the previous year’s quarter.

Adjusted operating income increased 1.8 percent, from $55.9 million to 56.9 million. The company attributes this slight increase to the acquisition of Quad/Graphics Canada, a move the company says has achieved $30 million to date in synergies.

Francois Olivier, Transcontinental’s President and CEO, said the closure of Zellers had a negative impact on its printing sector, offset somewhat by the signing of several multi-year printing contracts worth $200 million. Transcontinental’s Media Sector also faced difficult times, according to Olivier, resulting in “some cost-cutting measures to limit the impact on the Media Sector’s profit margin.”

For the first half of 2013, the company’s revenues were up four percent year-over-year, from $1,010 million to $1,050 million.

Kodak’s long road towards reemergence from Chapter 11 hit another stumbling block as some its creditors balked at the company’s submitted plans.

According to a report by the, a scheduled bankruptcy hearing on June 13th has been postponed to June 25th as creditors asked for more time to review the plans published by Kodak on April 30th.

Creditors are objecting, according to the published report, because they feel the restructuring plans do not adequately address how they will be affected.

“The filing of the Plan of Reorganization and Disclosure Statement represents a major milestone in our reorganization: this initiates our emergence process,” stated Antonio M. Perez, Kodak’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in a statement when the restructuring plans were filed. “We now have a clear path forward for Kodak, and we are positioning the company for a profitable and sustainable future.”

Eastman Kodak filed for Chapter 11 on January 19, 2012. The full restructuring plans can be accessed here.

HP announced its financial results for its second quarter which saw a decline in its printing business. The company’s total earnings fell 32 percent year over year, or US$1.1 billion.

The tech giant saw net revenue fall 10 percent year over year to US$27.6 billion. Among the hardest hit was its Personal Systems revenue, which was down 20 percent.

Printing revenue declined one percent year over year with a operating margin of 15.8 percent. Total hardware units were down 11 percent year over year. Commercial hardware units were down 5 percent year over year, and Consumer hardware units were down 13 percent year over year.

"I am encouraged by our performance in the second quarter, and I feel good about the rest of the year," said Meg Whitman, President and CEO of HP. "As I have said many times before, this is a multi-year journey. We have a long way to go, but we are on track to deliver on our fiscal 2013 non-GAAP diluted earnings per share outlook."

Despite the decline in earnings, the results were said to be better than expected, spurred on by “accelerated capture of restructuring savings and improvement in our operations.” The announcement caused HP’s shares to rise 13 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.

At its Annual Meeting of Shareholders, Xerox proclaimed a positive year’s result for 2012 which saw the company post a net income of $1.4 billion.

“2012 was a year of alignment: aligning costs with a services-focused business model, aligning investments with key priorities, aligning our diverse portfolio with market opportunities and aligning operations to address these opportunities,” said Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns. “We did this through a customer-centric approach that took full advantage of our brand, innovation and global scale. With services now representing 55 percent of our total revenue and growing to two-thirds by 2017, we believe this is a good time to keep your eye on Xerox,” added Burns. “Through services-led growth, profitable leadership in document technology, our cash-generating annuity-based business model and earnings expansion, we have the financial strength to invest in building value for Xerox and for our stakeholders.” 

The company earned US$22.4 billion of revenue for 2012, leading to an adjusted earning per share of $1.03. The company spent $1.1 billion in share repurchase and $255 million in dividends.

Shareholders also voted in 10 members to Xerox’s Board: Glenn A. Britt, Ursula M. Burns, Richard J. Harrington, William Curt Hunter, Robert J. Keegan, Robert A. McDonald, Charles Prince, Ann N. Reese, Sara Martinez Tucker and Mary Agnes Wilderotter.

Heidelberg released some preliminary figures for its 2012/2013 financial year, which ended on March 31. The figures show that sales for the company increased five percent over 2011/2012 numbers, however, costs for its Focus 2012 plans still weigh heavily on its results.

Heidelberg expects to post a EUR 2.596 billion sales figure, which leads to the company’s EBIT result to be EUR 28 million, compared to EUR 3 million in 2011. Special items, including Focus 2012 costs of EUR 65 million, cause a net loss of EUR 110 million for the German press maker. For the 2011/2012, Heidelberg posted a net loss of EUR 230 million.

"By meeting our forecast for the year, we have reached a key milestone on our way to profitability," said Heidelberg CEO Gerold Linzbach. "Focus 2012 lays the foundation for us to start making a profit again from financial year 2013/2014 onwards."
The company attributes its improving results to a strong fourth quarter: sales for the period January to March 2013 rose to EUR 830 million compared to EUR 785 million between January and March 2012.

Heidelberg also managed to reduce its workforce by nearly 1,200 people in the past year and now employs 14,215. The company will release its full financials on June 13, 2013.

Quad/Graphics Inc. of Sussex Wisconsin, one of North America’s largest printing operations, reported a net loss of $14 million (all figures in U.S. dollars) for its first quarter ending March 31, 2013. 

The reported results include the company’s acquisition of Vertis, which took place on January 16, 2013, for $237 million. This purchase, according to the company, led to taking on a $160 million increase in debt during the quarter.

“Our first quarter results were in line with our expectations and we reaffirm our previously released 2013 annual guidance,” stated Joel Quadracci, Quad/Graphics Chairman, President and CEO. “In addition, we are pleased with our progress to date on the integration of Vertis. Our integration team has been focused on cost-savings initiatives and improving the overall efficiency and productivity of our platform.

Net sales for Quad/Graphics’ first quarter 2013 were $1.1 billion versus $990 million for the same period in 2012. First quarter 2013 Adjusted EBITDA was $114 million compared to $126 million for the same period in 2012, and Adjusted EBITDA margin was 10.1 percent compared to 12.7 percent for the same period in 2012. Recurring Free Cash Flow was $120 million versus $107 million for the same period in 2012.

“As expected, our Adjusted EBITDA margin was 10.1 percent,” stated John Fowler, Quad/Graphics Executive VP and CFO. “This reflects Vertis’ lower margin profile; continued pressure on Vertis' margins due to pre-acquisition financial challenges, including its bankruptcy filing; the seasonality of Vertis’ business, which has volumes and profitability more heavily weighted in the back half of the year; and ongoing industry pricing pressures.”

KBA today released results for its first quarter of the current fiscal year, stating that its sales were behind schedule for this period. The group faced a reduction of 15.5 percent in new orders, down to €200 million compared to €236.6 million in 2012. KBA posted an operating loss of €16.9 million for the quarter.

Despite these numbers, however, KBA’s management stands by its sales and earnings forecasts for 2013, attributing some of its shortfall to shipments postponed by customers. The company predicts revenues matching that of 2012 (€1,294 million) and a modest improvement in pre-tax earnings. KBA’s management bases its forecast on deliveries scheduled for the following months and a rise in sheetfed orders expected in May from the world’s second-largest trade fair, China Print, in Beijing.

KBA Vice-President and CFO Dr. Axel Kaufmann said: “The ongoing turn-around program in place until the end of 2014 in the competitive sheetfed and web offset business should noticeably improve earnings. Along with the continuing realignment of production capacity and amendments to wage agreements effective since the beginning of the year, there are also cost-saving measures in place in group purchasing and administration.”

President and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann stated that he sees growth potential in digital printing and flexible packaging for KBA: “With the digital KBA RotaJET 76 and the expansion of our product range for packaging with own products as well as the planned takeover of Italian manufacturer, Flexotecnica, we aim to compensate for the smaller market for traditional sheetfed and web offset presses with growing print markets.

"This strategy demands time and appropriate investment which, thanks to KBA’s solid financial profile, can be realized with our own means," continued Bolza-Schünemann. "In 2013, the new market segments will only make a limited contribution to group sales and earnings, however, this should change in the midterm.”

Lüscher AG Maschinenbau of Gretzenbach, Switzerland, has filed for bankruptcy stating it is impossible to continue trading in its current situation of over-indebtedness combined with a significant fall in incoming orders over the past nine months.

A statement from the company’s management reads: “Despite extensive efforts, supported by the bank, development partners and investors, in new and more attractive applications in industrial print markets, it has not been possible to stabilize the company’s financial position in the prevailing restricted market context.”

Lüscher primarily focused on developing computer-to-plate systems and related technologies for flexographic sector in Europe. While its products were sold in more than 60 countries, primarily through a network of dealers, Lüscher has subsidiaries in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Hong Kong, as well as a sales office in the United Kingdom. 

At the time of the bankruptcy filing, Lüscher reported to have more than 1,600 CTP installations worldwide. The company’s best-known CTP systems were sold under the XPose! brand name, including XPose! UV and XPose! Thermal, which are internal drum imaging systems for packaging printers to image thermal and conventional offset plates, as well as XPose! Flex.

Sheetfed Holdings Limited (SFHL), which consolidates 47 companies around the world that comprise the manroland sheetfed Group, published its IFRS Annual Report & Accounts for the period ended 31st December 2012.

For the 11 month trading period SFHL, the vehicle which acquired the sheetfed division of German printing press builder, manroland AG in February last year, recorded revenues of €346.4 and pre-tax profits of €72.4 million. Net assets at the year-end were €81.4 million and net cash €46.4 million.

The Accounts show that the sheetfed business and assets excluding German properties were acquired last February for €55 million in cash. The deal was funded by Langley Holdings PLC, whose property arm acquired the press builder's headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Offenbach and other properties in Germany for €21.8 million in a separate transaction.

Langley Holdings PLC reported a non-recurring gain of €25.2 million arising from the property deal in its 2012 Annual Report & Accounts published last month, which contributed to its pre-tax profit of €121.3 million. Langley's property arm has subsequently purchased the freeholds to manroland operating properties in the United States, Italy and Belgium and plans to acquire freeholds to other outposts in 2013.

The SFHL vehicle is currently owned by the British industrialist Tony Langley, who is also the sole shareholder of Langley Holdings PLC. It is planned to absorb the press builder into Langley Holdings PLC later this year and when the merger is completed the group will employ around 4,000 people and have annual revenues close to €1 billion euros.

The press builder will be the third under-performing German engineering business to have been acquired by Langley over the last 10 years. According to the financial statement, Langley's other German divisions now consistently out-perform the German VDMA machinery producers index.

Langley Holdings PLC was established by its eponymous owner in 1975 and is yet to sell a business it has acquired. The group remains debt free and net assets on completion of the merger will be in the region of €480 million with net cash around €260 million. Philip Beresford, compiler of the British Sunday Times' Rich List, estimates the group to be worth in excess of €1 billion, although as a publicly listed company says this would be substantially more considering current P/E's in the sector.

KBA has published its financial statements for 2012 which includes a “significant increase in operating profit.” Sheetfed sales grew 10.2 percent while web and specialty press sales grew by 11.5 percent, stemming from interest generated by drupa. Group sales climbed by 10.9 percent to €1,293.9 million, compared to the prior-year figure of €1,167.2 million.

KBA president and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann said: “Our ongoing programme to sustainably improve the profitability of the sheetfed and web offset business should achieve savings in the double-digit million euro range by the end of 2014. Along with the introduction of a product-house organisation and amendments to wage agreements, we started further initiatives to cut general and administrative expenses in core areas, in group-wide purchasing and at the group’s manufacturing facilities. In addition, in the past year we pressed ahead with the realignment of production capacity in place since 2009.”

As a result of cost-cutting measures and the growth of sales, the group reports an operating profit of €43.1 million, a figure that more than quadruples its figure of €9.9 million from 2011. Incoming orders for web and specialty presses fell by 28.1 percent compared to 2011, however.

The company predicts 2013’s figures to have moderate growth, but says web offset and security printing sales will likely continue to decline, an act that will be countered with more cost-cutting in that segment. Instead, the company looks to packaging to grow revenue: “The diverse packaging market is particularly of interest to us, which led us to announce the planned takeover of the Italian press manufacturer, Flexotecnica, at the end of February,” said Bolza-Schünemann. “This company produces presses for the growing market of flexible packaging, such as film. Our focus on improving internal processes and the extension of our product range will cause additional expenses which we invest in the future of the company.”

Revenues for Transcontinental Inc. of Montreal were up 8.4 percent in the first quarter, increasing from $487.6 million to $528.7 million. The company stated the increase was mainly due to its March 2012 acquisition of Quad/Graphics Canada Inc. and its May 2012 acquisition of a majority stake in Redux Media, as well as the Métro Montréal daily commuter paper.

Transcontinental also points out its Q1 revenue increase was partly offset by the termination of its Zellers flyer printing and distribution contract, because of the closure of the Zellers stores.

Adjusted operating income for Transcontinental in its first quarter rose 6.3 percent, from $43.0 million to $45.7 million, again pointing to the above-mentioned conditions.

“The growth in our revenues and profitability demonstrates how effectively we executed our strategy,” stated François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer of TC Transcontinental. “In the Printing Sector, with the ongoing integration of Quad/Graphics Canada, Inc., we have generated further synergies this quarter.”

Olivier expects to continue improving Transcontinental’s profitability as Quad/Graphics Canada is further integrated.

 Also within its printing sector, Transcontinental  recently concluded new multi-year printing agreements with several retailers, namely Shoppers Drug Mart, to print point-of-sale promotional materials, and with Safeway U.S. to print flyers. These agreements will add about $30 million in annual sales.

Transcontinental also signed several multi-year agreements, including a contract to print flyers for brands like Best Buy and Future Shop, with the addition of flyer distribution in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.

Eastman Kodak Company yesterday, in filing its 2012 Form 10-K with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, recorded an improvement in earnings for the two reporting segments comprising its Commercial Imaging segment. With this filing, Kodak reaffirmed its position that it is on a path to emerge from Chapter 11 reorganization in mid-2013. 

Over the past several months, Kodak has repeatedly stated Commercial Imaging is to be its strategic focus for the future. This segment is comprised of Digital Printing and Enterprise, as well as Graphics, Entertainment and Commercial Films. The operating loss for these two Commercial Imaging segments in 2012 improved by $278 million (all figures are in U.S. dollars). On a GAAP basis, the consolidated 2012 loss from continuing operations before interest expense, other income (charges), net, reorganization items, net and income taxes increased by $33 million.

Kodak reported a 2012 consolidated net loss of $1.38 billion. Excluding reorganization and restructuring costs totaling $1.07 billion, the loss for the year would have been $308 million. Kodak’s revenue of $4.11 billion in 2012 was a decline of 20 percent from the previous year. As Kodak continues to focus on cost reductions, the company’s selling, general and administrative costs fell by US$226 million in 2012.

“[We] optimized our use of the Chapter 11 process, which offers valuable restructuring advantages despite the many demands it also imposes,” stated Antonio Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kodak.

“Our momentum continues as we work to file our Plan of Reorganization and then complete the final actions that will enable us to emerge from Chapter 11 in mid-2013,” continued Perez. "Thanks to the talent and dedication of our employees, our 2012 performance was on track or ahead of our adjusted EBITDA and cash projections, and we have remained in compliance with the covenants of our debtor-in-possession facility, laying the foundation for emergence as a profitable, sustainable company.”

The company’s worldwide cash balance was $1.14 billion at the end of 2012.

The Niagara Falls Review, a community-focused news outlet of Sun Media, reported on Thursday, March 7, that lawyers representing Quad/Graphics Inc. and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) Union of Canada met in court over an ongoing labour dispute between the two sides.

In January 2013, around 100 workers within the CEP union at a Stevensville, Ontario, printing plant operated by Vertis were laid off when Quad/Graphics finalized its asset purchase Vertis. Based in Wisconsin, Quad/Graphics first signed an agreement to purchase the assets of Vertis Holdings for US$258.5 million in October 2012, shortly after Vertis filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States.

The laid-off workers have picketing out front of Quad/Graphics’ new Stevensville location, which led to last Thursday’s court appearance in St. Catharines, as the company felt its trucks were being unduly held up.

Tony Ricciuto of the Niagara Falls Review reports the workers feel they are owed upwards of $2.7 million and that further court action is expected.

Read Ricciuto’s full report at the Niagara Falls Review

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