In releasing its third-quarter results for 2009, Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA) states that “the export-intensive press-engineering sector has stabilized at a low level,” but the company “sees no sign as yet of a sustained recovery.” KBA also pointed out that demand for its sheetfed presses was better than expected over the past quarter, while there is a “persistent soft demand” for web and special presses.
KBA’s order intake for the first nine months of 2009 was €682.3 million, 32.1 percent below the Drupa-enhanced figure of €1.01 million for the same period the previous year. The company claims orders for its sheetfed presses picked up in April and “remained buoyant” in the summer. Its orders for sheetfed presses came to €149.4 million in the third quarter, up from €145 million in the second quarter. The total for the first nine months was €371.7 million, 24 percent below the prior-year figure of €489.3 million.
The volume of new orders for web and special presses fell from €515.7 million to €310.6 million – a difference of 39.8 percent. In terms of special presses, KBA however points to security printing as a bright spot. The company also pointed to China as a continued engine for growth as export levels there remained “relatively stable” at 83.4 percent, against 84.2 precent twelve months earlier.
European exports for KBA fell from 52.3 percent to 34.8 percent of total group sales, while exports to Asia and the Pacific increased from 19.1 percent to 23.5 percent. The figure for Africa and Latin America was above the company’s historic average, at 17.2 percent, while the percentage of sales generated in the North American market remained low at 7.9 percent.
A company statement explains that sales “will be a good 25 percent below the prior-year figure of €1.53 billion… due to an unexpectedly weak inflow of orders for multi-unit web presses.” KBA’s president and CEO, Helge Hansen, said, “If the fourth quarter proves disappointing and we post a negative result for the year, it will be in the low single-digit million Euro range and would still represent a notable achievement compared to the performance of other players in the sector.”