The management board presented the company’s strategy and the figures for the past financial year (April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019) to the shareholders. Following the successful end to financial year 2018-2019, Heidelberg announced that it aims to vigorously pursue its digital transformation. The company is to become less susceptible to economic fluctuations in the future, primarily due to the expansion of innovative digital business models and the higher proportion of recurring contract sales these will bring.
Approximately 30 contracts were concluded in financial year 2018-2019 and customer demand is rising, which is why Heidelberg is continuing to expand its subscription offerings. At present, customers are offered a fully inclusive package that combines equipment, services, software and consumables in one usage-based contract that runs over several years.
In the future, customers will also be able to combine and utilize individual components from this offering over a defined period of time and in line with set standards. This will enable them to switch to usage-based service models in a phased process. In the medium term, approximately a third of overall sales and around two thirds of lifecycle sales at Heidelberg are to be generated on a sustainable basis through contract business.
In order to ensure the implementation of the strategy even in an uncertain economic environment, the management board presented a package of measures at the Annual General Meeting to stabilize sales and earnings development and to significantly improve net working capital and free cash flow. This is intended to cushion the negative effects resulting from the current reluctance of customers to invest, especially in Europe, as quickly as possible.
At the Annual General Meeting, the company's shareholders also had to vote on seven of the eight items on the agenda, including the election of Li Li as shareholder representative on the supervisory board. Li hails from Tianjin City and is chair of the board of Masterwork Group Co., Ltd. Masterwork has been a strategic anchor shareholder since the end of March 2019 from Heidelberg. In the resolution on the election to the supervisory board, the large majority of those entitled to vote agreed with the candidate proposed by the administration.