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A “challenging” market hit sales at press manufacturing giant Koenig & Bauer in first quarter, with the company now looking at restructuring its Digital & Web division to stem losses.

Tough quarter: Koenig & Bauer's Sheetfed division was down, as were Digital & Web, and Specialty

Group sales were down by ten per cent to €253.2m, while EBIT losses trebled to €10.2m. Koenig & Bauer is hoping drupa, for which it has a €10m budget, will provide an uptick in sales across all three of its press divisions; Sheetfed, Digital & Web, and Specialty, all of which took a revenue hit in the quarter. The Group posted a net loss of €16.6m in the first quarter of 2024

The company says with its new Spotlight focus programme, it is following a clear plan to lead the company out of the current market phase stronger and is also aiming to secure the company's targets of achieving an EBIT margin of 6-7 per cent on group revenue of €1.5bn by 2026.

“Under the Spotlight focus programme, Koenig & Bauer is working on measures to enhance revenue in profitable areas and on efforts to restructure areas that are currently not profitable,” said CEO Dr Andreas Pleßke, adding that, “a lot also depends on the impetus generated during and after the world’s leading trade fair drupa, which is taking place again for the first time after an eight-year hiatus.

“We are agile, fast and flexible in adapting to changing conditions. We have proven this in the past, and this extraordinary ability has been firmly entrenched in our company’s DNA for more than 200 years.”

At €242.9m as of 31 March, order intake was 19.4 per cent below the previous year’s figure, which Koenig & Bauer says is in line with expectations. The Sheetfed segment in particular saw a further sequential improvement following the muted order intake in the third quarter of 2023. Order intake in the Digital & Webfed segment reflected the current temporary weakness in the market for corrugated board.

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