Koenig & Bauer suspends dividend payment for the financial year 2019

The decision approved by the company board

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Koenig & Bauer
Koenig & Bauer AG’s 95th AGM took place as a virtual event for the first time

Germany’s Koenig & Bauer has decided to suspend the dividend payment for the financial year 2019 and carry forward the profit generated by the holding company Koenig & Bauer AG to new account.

“With a large majority, the shareholders confirmed the management and supervisory boards’ proposal to suspend the dividend payment for the financial year 2019 and to carry forward the retained profit generated by the holding company Koenig & Bauer AG to new account,” the company said.

The announcement was made during the company’s first virtual annual general meeting. In addition to details of the group’s business performance in 2019 and in the first quarter of 2020, the numerous product innovations and the successfully launched offensive for digitisation were the main topics were the topic of discussion during the AGM.

The management board reported that the coronavirus pandemic, which has been spreading rapidly since January, has already had a considerable impact on revenue and earnings in the current financial year.

“Our broad product portfolio with a significant share of revenue in system-relevant packaging printing, the robust, increasingly digital service business and our sound balance sheet with a high equity ratio limit the risk potential. With the corona crisis management established in March, we are working to actively counter this extraordinary situation,” CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann said.

He said that the company’s action plan focuses on reliable customer support, cost and investment discipline and securing liquidity. “There were almost no restrictions on the supply chain. Short-time working has, however, been in place at different locations since 1 April 2020 due to capacity utilisation. Under the currently uncertain general conditions, the impact on revenue and earnings in the 2020 financial year cannot yet be quantified.”

Performance 2024 efficiency program is flanked by applying for a KfW loan

Bolza-Schünemann said that in parallel to the corona crisis management, Koenig & Bauer is working intensively on the Performance 2024 efficiency program, evaluating various scenarios.

In addition, improvements in working capital and cash flow are at the top of the agenda alongside the strategic focus on packaging printing and digital services, he said. To strengthen the stability and strategic flexibility of the group, the management board and the supervisory board decided to apply for a flexibly repayable KfW loan with a volume of up to €120m to supplement the existing syndicated credit lines (Direct Participation in Syndicated Loans).

“Among others, no dividend distributions are permitted during the term of the KfW loan. After the plans for increasing the operating profitability and performance of the group have been adopted, we will report promptly on the targets and costs of the Performance 2024 efficiency programme,” he said.

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.

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