Agfa plate and printer sales hit by pandemic

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Industry solutions developer Agfa saw its first quarter plate sales hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and says the remaining quarters are also likely to see lower levels of production, as it suspends manufacturing in the UK and France.

Agfa plates: hit by pandemic
Agfa plates: hit by pandemic

Sales for Agfa in Q1 fell by 4.4 per cent to €501m, with the company saying it was “due to the issues in the offset printing industry, the refocus on higher margin activities in several business areas, and the first effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Sales at its offset solutions division were down 5.8 per cent to €187m. However, EBITDA losses at the division reduced to €1.4m from €3.6m in the prior corresponding period.

The company said sales coming from the alliance with Lucky HuaGuang Graphics were not able to compensate for the structural decline of the offset markets and the effects of Covid-19 pandemic, which in the first quarter had an impact on the business in China.

The company forecast that the impact of the virus on advertising and commercial activities “will lead to lower print volumes” and consequent lower demand for offset plates in coming quarters. It has already suspended plate production at its sites in the UK and France, with its Wiesbaden plant handling all current manufacturing for Europe.

Agfa saw sales at its digital print and chemicals division fall by 14.2 per cent at €74.3m. It said that in inkjet, the ink product ranges performed well, but hardware sales fell away as “many companies are postponing investments in high-end large-format printing equipment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.” It said that as the pandemic is ongoing the impact will continue to be felt in the coming quarters.

Agfa restated its commitment to inkjet as a key driver for the business, and said it was looking at “promising business opportunities in new market segments.”

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