Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG

Heidelberg extends its market leadership
Dividend of Euro 1.70 per share - 1999/2000 fiscal year yields record results

    Heidelberg (ots) - Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) has successfully concluded its 1999/2000 fiscal year (1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000). With sales of Euro 4.602 billion, the Heidelberg Group has bettered last year's figures (Euro 3.948 billion) by 16.5%. Incoming orders were also up 39.3% at Euro 4.694 billion (1998/99 fiscal year: Euro 3.369 billion), achieving an all-time high. "The Heidelberg Group's profit after taxes was Euro 251 million (1998/99: Euro 256 billion), and thereby reached a very high level despite the expenditure invested in building up digital press business", explained Bernhard Schreier, Chairman of the Management Board. The company will issue a dividend of Euro 1.70 per share for 1999/2000, corresponding to a dividend yield of 2.74%.

    Heidelberg shares developed well between 1 April 1999 and 31 March 2000, rising from Euro 49.50 to Euro 62.00. If the dividend paid is taken in account, this represents an increase of 27.7%. The MDAX rose 18.4% to 4,468 points during the same period. "We expect to double the free-float of our shares to around 30% over the next fiscal year", stated Finance Director Dr. Herbert Meyer. He also indicated that discussions were currently underway with major shareholders. After Lahmeyer AG's merger into the parent company RWE, RWE AG has been the majority shareholder (56%) of Heidelberg since the end of 1999.

    The reorganized Digital division has far exceeded Heidelberg's expectations over recent months, particularly in the field of black/white digital printing. "Our figures show that Heidelberg has succeeded in positioning itself as a solution provider for the entire printing and publishing industry.

    We will endeavor to systematically build upon our existing market leadership - with digital printing as a further key pillar of operations", explained Bernhard Schreier. The company recorded a high export rate of 84.6%, a slight improvement on last year's figure (82.3%). Heidelberg's total workforce increased by 2,618 to 24,177 during the period under review (as of 31 March 2000).

    Very successful first quarter - record figures at drupa

    The successful conclusion of the 1999/2000 fiscal year was also continued in the first quarter of the current year 2000/01. At drupa 2000, the most important fair for the graphic arts industry, Heidelberg received orders with a value in excess of Euro 1.5 billion. This record figure was more than triple the orders received at drupa 1995. For the first time ever, Heidelberg's portfolio at the Dusseldorf fair included complete solutions tailored to the precise needs of its customers. These included printing presses, but also prepress and postpress products such as software, consumables and services. The highlights of the fair included the NexPress 2100 color digital press and the new Mainstream 80 newspaper press. One of Europe's most renowned newspaper publishers, the British Telegraph Group, ordered no less than seven Mainstream rotary presses with a total of 263 printing units at drupa. "This order was one of the largest in drupa's history", states Bernhard Schreier. "It shows that we have a leading role to play in the newspaper industry." Over recent months, Heidelberg has consistently implemented its strategy and moved from being a press manufacturer to a complete solution provider for the entire printing and publishing industry.

    The company has further optimized its offset printing operations and reinforced its newspaper and digital printing activities. The takeover of 30% of the Swiss Gallus Group in September 1999 also strengthened the company's foothold in the important growth sector of flexographic printing.

    Brilliant start for Digital

    The new Digital division recorded sales of Euro 659 million, and exceeded expectations by 25%. More than 1000 units of Heidelberg's first digital black/white press, the Digimaster 9110, have already been sold.

    The company aims to achieve a market share of around 20% in this product segment within five years. Heidelberg moved into digital color printing when it founded NexPress, a joint venture between Heidelberg and Kodak.

    Sheetfed sets a new sales record

    Heidelberg was also extremely successful in the sheetfed sector in the 1999/2000 fiscal year, achieving total sales of Euro 2.850 billion, some 8.5% up on the previous year. The highest growth rates in sales were recorded in Asia, Central Europe and NAFTA.

    Web Systems - successes with Sunday technology

    With sales of Euro 695 million, the Web Offset division recorded a nominal growth of 3% during the last fiscal year. A concentration among large printshops meant that customers in North America were holding back temporarily on their purchases. The division was able to increase its market share, however, in other key markets such as Europe and Asia. In the sector involving the production of catalogs, magazines and supplements, Heidelberg is the world market leader with a share in excess of 40%. The innovative Sunday technology plays a key role in Web Systems, being integrated for the first time into the series of new newspaper presses.

    Finishing records significant increase in sales

    The company's Finishing division saw sales boosted by 71% to Euro 398 million during 99/00. The growth, adjusted for initial consolidation effects, was 17%. Heidelberg succeeded once again in reinforcing its position in what is a virtually stagnant market for folding systems and delivery units - with a market share in excess of 40%. Sales increases of just under 50% were achieved in the field of gatherer-stitchers, while the company also succeeded in boosting its share of the world market to around 25%.

    Sales rocket with six regions

    More than 240,000 customers worldwide now use Heidelberg products. To provide them with direct, local support, Heidelberg has consistently expanded its sales and service organization over recent years and is now represented in over 170 countries. 42% of the Group's sales were achieved in the Central Europe Region. With total revenue of Euro 1.9 billion, Heidelberg achieved its best figures ever. Heidelberg Germany and Heidelberg UK were particularly successful, achieving record sales of Euro 676 million and Euro 342 million respectively. In the Eastern Europe Region, Heidelberg Russia and Heidelberg Poland also saw sales climb significantly. The NAFTA region experienced strong growth for 1999/2000, with sales up 27.6% to around Euro 1.6 billion. In Central and South America, sales of Euro 111 million were below the previous year's level due to the difficult economic circumstances. High sales in the Web sector meant that Heidelberg do Brasil was nevertheless able to improve on last year's sales figures.

    In Asia, Heidelberg was able to utilize the economic recovery in the Asia/Pacific Region and further increase its market share. Heidelberg Japan, for example, saw sales rise by 13% to Euro 268 million. Heidelberg China, too, was able to record significant growth. China is Asia's most important growth market and the company is committed to expanding its presence in this region. In the Middle East and Africa Region, most countries were able to follow on the very positive growth in sales in 1998/99.

    The Print Media Academy opens

    In the middle of April, Heidelberg celebrated the company's 150th anniversary by opening the Print Media Academy. "This knowledge and training center allows us to provide the entire graphic arts industry with hardware and software, but also with 'brainware'", explains Bernhard Schreier. As we move into the information era, the latest technologies must also be accompanied by appropriate know-how.

    A network of academies with facilities in Atlanta, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Moscow, Sao Paulo, Cairo and Shenzhen (China) is ensuring that Heidelberg is also able to provide training courses close to its customers and its various markets.

    Further growth forecast for the 2000/01 fiscal year

    Heidelberg forecasts very positive developments for the current fiscal year. The company received a very positive boost from drupa, so that order levels are expected to increase beyond the average rate of economic growth. Group sales in 2000/01 will be in the region of Euro 5 billion, with profits for the year up 8 to 10% on the 1999/2000 fiscal year. "First-class high-tech products coupled with Heidelberg's expertise as a solution provider and our worldwide service network mean we will have a distinct competitive advantage in future", explains Bernhard Schreier. According to the Chairman of the Management Board, the print sector will also profit from the electronic media. "Heidelberg will continue to be successful and benefit from opening up new markets and its complete focussing on customer needs."

    HEIDELBERG GROUP                  1999/2000        1998/1999 Change %
                                                  EUR                    EUR
                                                 million          million
    Orders received                      4,694            3,369         +39.3
         Digital                              670                374            +79.1
         Sheetfed                            2,911            2,218         +31.2
         Web                                    704                560            +25.7
         Finishing                          409                217            +88.5
    Sales                                    4,602          3,948            +16.5
         Digital                              659                416            +58.8
         Sheetfed                          2,850          2,626              +8.5
         Web                                    695                674              +3.1
         Finishing                          398                232            +71.4
    Operating result                    463                459              +0.9
         Digital                              -26              -28    
         Sheetfed                            491                486    
         Web                                    -7                 15    
         Finishing                            5                -14    

    Profit before tax                  487                481              +1.3
    Profit after tax                    251                256              -2.0
    Cash flow                                447                466              -4.1
    Investments                            262                207            +26.6
    Employees                            24,177          21,559          +12.1
         Digital                            4,169            2,550          +63.5
         Sheetfed                         15,148          14,377            +5.4
         Web                                  2,964            2,903            +2.1
         Finishing                         1,896            1,729            +9.7
         Sales by region                4,602            3,948          +16.5
         Central Europe                 1,911            1,851            +3.2
         Eastern Europe                  190                 206            -7.8
         NAFTA    1,550                  1,550            1,215          +27.6
         Central/South America        111              123                -9.8
         Asia/Pacific    736            736              451              +63.2
         Middle East/Africa            104              102                +2.0

ots Original Text Service: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG Internet: http://recherche.newsaktuell.de

For further information please contact Nina Purtscher Press Officer Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG Corporate Communications phone: +49 6221 92 5064 fax: +49 6221 92 5069

The press release and all photographs for the Press Conference on the Financial Statements of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG can also be downloaded from the Internet:

www.journalist.heidelberg.com User name: Journalist, Password: Heidelberg

Original-Content von: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, übermittelt durch news aktuell

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