The Board of Directors is proposing to the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders the payment of a dividend of CHF 1.70 per share (CHF 1.25 in 2015).
Bobst started 2016 with a slightly higher backlog of orders than the year before. Order entries during 2016 have been higher than in the previous year for the Business Unit Web-fed, while entries for the Business Unit Sheet-fed ended 2016 somewhat lower. Globally, order entries were at same level as last year. As the company had expected and communicated, Asia improved significantly, while Central and North America improved once again on the previous year. Not surprisingly, Europe experienced a slowdown and activity remained low in South America. The Group finished the reporting year with a slightly lower backlog than in 2015.
For the full year 2016, consolidated sales increased by CHF 116 million, or 8.7%, to CHF 1.447 billion. Adjusted for currency effects and acquisitions, organic sales were up 6.7% in 2016. Nuova Gidue Srl, which was acquired in 2015, and the new subsidiary opened in Turkey at the beginning of 2016 contributed CHF 16.1 million to the sales increase. Exchange rate variances increased sales by CHF 10.8 million.
The operating result (EBIT) was CHF 103.7 million, or 7.2%, of sales compared to CHF 83.9 million, or 6.3%, of sales in 2015. The increase in operating result (EBIT) was due to higher sales, which led to a good utilization of Bobst's industrial capacities, as well as to improvement measures to continuously increase the company's competitiveness.
Change is all around and 2017 will be another "unpredictable year." The way that countries are run under new political leaderships may influence global trade and change its dynamics. Although the markets will remain unpredictable, there will still be plenty of opportunities.
At the forthcoming Annual General Meeting of Shareholders on April 6, 2017, the mandates of all members of the Board of Directors will come to an end. Alain Guttmann, Thierry de Kalbermatten, Jürgen Brandt, Gian-Luca Bona and Philip Mosimann will be proposed for re-election for a new period of one year. Ulf Berg will not be standing for re-election, as he has decided after 11 years as a director of the company not to enroll for another year.