Heidelberg is Europe’s (and probably the world’s) biggest print machinery manufacturer. Commenting on the group’s results for the year ending March 2008, Heidelberg CEO Bernhard Schreier acknowledged that poor economic prospects had taken their toll in particular since the beginning of this year. During the fiscal year, Heidelberg’s sales, operating result and net profit were all down from the previous year’s levels. As with many international companies based in Europe, the group’s business has been hit not only by the downturn in the global economy but by the strength of the euro. Business in the US has been hit badly, with the UK and Japan also showing a downward trend.
This did not deter Heidelberg from pulling out all the stops at Drupa. The company showed its full range of Speedmaster format presses for labels, as well as all its Workflow and CTP systems – all this at a “booth” of 80,000 square feet with 1,500 Heidelberg staff in attendance. This is probably the largest roofed-in booth of any trade show, anywhere in Europe, or even in the world.
Unconfirmed rumors are going around in Europe that Heidelberg, despite its disappointing results, is on the acquisitions path, and that its target could be Agfa, the company that grew big on making films for cameras, and is now trying to reinvent itself in digital printing equipment. Schreier has already dropped hints of “a planned investment of several hundred million euros to round out Heidelberg’s range of products and services.”