11 June 2017 Business

Heidelberg sets ambitious course for future

Heidelberg's CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer lays out plans to increase revenue by €500 million in next five years.

Heidelberg has set sail to achieve sales of €3 billion within the next five years, guided by “once again becoming a lighthouse for the industry”.

Two acquisitions announced last week will contribute sales of €30 million a year, less than 10% of the €500 revenue increase needed from the 2016/17 sales. "Over the next five years, Heidelberg will once again become a leading light in the sector, enjoying strong growth and profits. We’ve defined the relevant success factors and have already introduced initial measures. This marks the start of a new era of growth for Heidelberg,” says CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer.

He does not specify the relevant success factors that will boost the revenue beyond the phrase “Heidelberg goes digital”. One area that is identified is in doubling revenue from digital printing: from 5% of the market to 10% bringing in an extra €200 million in the five-year period. Additional consumables sales, ordered via an online portal, has an identifiable sales potential of €250 million.

For example it aims to generate money from an “impression charge model” as part of a performance contracts for defined customer groups. This is a mid term objective that is not explained in detail, nor what thesis customer groups might be.

The acquisition of Fujifilm’s pressroom chemicals business in Belgium, will bring in €25 million immediately from sales in the European region. Fujifilm retains the processing chemistry linked to plates and is not selling its plates business. Pressroom chemicals remains a minor part of the mix for the Japanese company and efforts to boost the ecological and business effectiveness under the Superia name, have failed to differentiate its offering and so boost sales.

For Heidelberg it is a further step in building its own consumables offering following the acquisition of HiTech Coatings and Blue Print. It has yet to make an acquisition in plates, something that would easily achieve the sales target, but which would also be a huge financial stretch for a company that is still coping with debt taken on after the economic crash.

The second acquisition last week of Docufy is a brick in its digital platforms business and in its ambitions to exploit Industry 4.0. The document management business links engineering design, service documentation, 3D parts production and will help both Heidelberg and third parties accelerate time to market and improve service levels.

Further underlying the vision is the data that can be collected on equipment performance from 10,000 connected machines and using this to gain further insights into the performance of print business, printing machines and the trends that are ongoing. This will lead to new sales opportunities and new customer groups Heidelberg says in its jazzy annual report.

There is a huge focus on packaging (accounting for 25% of all print and with labels as a sector growing at double digit rates), and the cover of the report itself can be folder into a case to carry the remainder of the publication.

Packaging carries demands for automation and high volume industrialised printing with room to provide consultancy to ensure consistency in colour reproduction and on the other hand in demands for personalisation and highly responsive fast turnaround print. An automated plate production line has been developed in collaboration with Krause and Nela. This will deliver the volume of plates needed by long litho presses handling short production runs more effectively than existing Signasetters.

The goals come on the back of a 2016/17 result with sales stable at €2.524 billion (€2.512 billion) and an Ebitda of €179 million (€189 million, a result boosted by €19 million from a non recurring €19 million item. The UK suffered in both orders and sales “due to uncertainty over the forthcoming Brexit”, says the annual report.

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Digital means data presentation

Digital means data presentation

The digital emphasis for Heidelberg means collection and analysis of data to improve performance, growth of digital printing technologies and new business models that could include pay per impression for litho presses.

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