Bobst Group confirms its full year guidance for 2019

Bobst’s intention to issue a debenture bond

Bobst's Pune plant

On 22 January 2020, Switzerland headquartered packaging and label printing and converting Bobst Group announced that it is currently expecting 2019 full-year sales on a similar level as in the previous year 2018, which was CHF 1,635 million. The group now also manufactures digital textile printing machinery in its Mouvent joint venture.


The Bobst website investor pages reveal that the 2019 sales were 1636.3 CHF million (approximately Rs. 12,934 crore) compared to 1634.5 CHF million for 2018. The full-year operating result (EBIT) margin is expected to be slightly lower than 5%, as stated in the press release, but is listed as 5% in the key figures table on the website. The headcount, which we believe is a crucial figure for the viability of global manufacturers, was 5,555 in 2019 in comparison to 5,660 in 2018.


For 2020, the group is currently expecting full-year sales to be around 6% lower than in the previous year. The full-year operating result (EBIT) margin is expected to be smaller than in the last year due to lower sales and higher marketing costs. Marketing costs were expected to be high due to drupa 2020 in June, now postponed to 2021. We do not yet have any comment on the additional costs caused by the delay.


The Bobst Group press release also states that the company intends to issue a debenture bond. The proceeds will be used partially to reimburse the CHF 150 million debenture bond maturing on 30 September 2020 and partially to finance investments. 

Our view

Although the drupa 2020 bump in sales may not happen this year, there are reports that in China, at least, after the Coronavirus has diminished and packaging businesses are reopening, the industry is running to full capacity. Other news from the packaging industry in several large developed markets suggest that FMCG, food, and pharma supply chains are still functioning or were as of 30 March 2020 and that packaging plants are running to capacity. 


There is every expectation that if India can come out of the total lockdown by 15 April 2020 for social distancing, the packaging industry will pick up well. Reports suggest that as of 30 March 2020, the Indian government is planning to activate the 3 million trucks that have been standing still throughout the country since 22 March.


The Bobst Group is relatively unique in our industry because it has plants in almost every major region, including plants in Brazil, India, and China, apart from its plants in Switzerland and Italy. It is a significant supplier of gravure and flexo presses to the flexible packaging segment and of monocarton converting equipment. For cartons Bobst manufacturers seven die-cutters: the Novacut, Visioncut, Expertcut and the Mastercut for monocartons; and three levels of die-cutters in its corrugated carton series – the Visioncut, Expertcut, and Mastercut.


The entry-level Novacut diecutter is not only the most popular in emerging markets but has customers in all global markets. The company’s plant in Pune manufactures for global consumption, a wide range of its folder-gluers for monocartons, and the downstream module for the flexo printer slotter for corrugated cartons. Bobst in Pune has grown well both in output and turnover over the past three years, which is a real consideration for South Asian customers when looking at the viability of its suppliers.


The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.


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