CEWE successful with online business
Oldenburg, 25 March 2021 CEWE Stiftung & Co. KGaA (SDAX, ISIN: DE 0005403901) brought the 2020 financial year to a successful conclusion. Online business saw the core business segment of photofinishing increasing most, to more than compensate for the marked impact of the pandemic on the retail and commercial online printing business segments. CEWE presented its corporate figures for 2020 during the annual report and analysts' press conference held today. Turnover rose to 727.3 million euros (2019: 720.4 million euros), and operative earnings (EBIT) improved considerably above average, by more than 40% to 79.7 million euros (2019: 56.8 million euros). A positive corporate development and the extremely sound financing of the company put the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board in a position to propose to the shareholders a twelfth consecutive dividend increase to 2.30 euros per share (2020: 2.00 euros). "We are particularly pleased with the outstanding development of our core business segment of photofinishing. In 2020, CEWE once again delighted many people with a personal, individual photo product. Our focus on customers, our innovation and our strong online business are the key to this success," says Dr. Christian Friege, Chairman of the CEWE Stiftung & Co. KGaA Board of Management, on the occasion of today's CEWE annual report and analysts' press conference. CEWE's twelfth dividend increase is accompanied by its eleventh published sustainability report: CEWE has been reporting transparently on progress made in its sustainability management since as early as 2010. In 2020, CEWE already achieved the climate targets it had originally set for 2025.
Outstanding Christmas season for core business of photofinishing
The key business segment of photofinishing was once again the main driver of the company's positive annual net income. Following what had already been a good year in 2019, turnover was stepped up by 8.9%, to 618.8 million euros (2019: 568.0 million euros). EBIT, at 88.6 million euros, was even 30% higher than that of the previous year (2019: 66.9 million euros). Outstanding Christmas business was the main reason for this development. Q4, traditionally a decisive period, delivered turnover of 283.0 million euros in photofinishing, an increase of 12.7% over that of the previous year (2019: 251.1 million euros). Over and above this, the cost reduction programme initiated at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 had a positive effect on CEWE's earning power. The ongoing trend towards high-quality photo products such as the CEWE PHOTOBOOK, photo calendars, wall art, greeting cards and many more photo gifts is particularly pleasing and saw turnover per photo, at 31.78 eurocents, topping 30 eurocents for the first time ever (2019: 28.14 eurocents).
COVID-19 pandemic puts a strain on commercial online printing
While the photofinishing segment sooner benefited from customers having to stay at home, the business segment of commercial online printing showed itself to be compromised by the pandemic, with turnover in B2B business falling by 34.3% to 67.8 million euros in 2020 (2019: 103.2 million euros). CEWE was able to keep control of the impact that the decline in sales had on earnings by applying a strict, effective system of cost management. In 2020 the EBIT in the business segment of commercial online printing was at -3.7 million euros (2019: -7.7 million euros). In the previous year, restructuring provisions were still established in the amount of -5.0 million euros for merging the LASERLINE production and the SAXOPRINT printing operation. The merger has now been successfully completed. With the cost improvements achieved with a long-term effect and the streamlined brand portfolio with a focus on the SAXOPRINT, LASERLINE and viaprinto brands, CEWE sees itself ideally positioned to continue to expand business in commercial online printing after the pandemic.
Retailing hit by closures and further reduced as scheduled
The lockdowns in the retail environment naturally also had negative consequences for the CEWE retail business segment. The fact that CEWE continued with its rigorous line in 2020 and also intentionally reduced low-margin hardware business also had an impact, with CEWE retailing in 2020 achieving turnover in the amount of 34.1 million euros (2019: 43.7 million euros). "The pandemic is accelerating what is already our current focus on photofinishing and online business in retailing," explains Christian Friege. As part of this focus, CEWE is reducing its branch structure from around 140 stores to a good 100. On the inclusion of restructuring costs and write-downs on inventories accrued for this purpose, the business segment of retailing achieved an overall EBIT in the amount of -4.2 million euros in 2020. Adjusted by these non-recurring costs, retailing was even able to raise its operative EBIT slightly, to 0.23 million euros (2019 EBIT: 35 thousand euros).
ROCE increase continued
The return on capital employed showed itself with a renewed improvement in 2020, at 20.6% (2019: 14.8%). After-tax earnings also substantiated the positive development in the financial year completed, exceeding earnings for the previous year by more than 20 million euros, at 51.9 million euros in 2020. This meant that (undiluted) earnings per share, at 7.20 euros, reached an amount clearly in excess of that of the previous year (2019: 4.40 euros).
Dividend to increase for the twelfth time in succession
The capital ratio, at 48.1% on 31 December 2020, once again exceeded what had already been a very high level in the previous year (31.12.2019: 47.5%). On the basis of this stable financing situation, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board have decided to propose the payment of a dividend of 2.30 euros to shareholders at this year's Annual General Meeting (previous year's dividend: 2.00 euros). Should shareholders approve the proposal at the AGM on 9 June 2021, it would be the twelfth dividend increase in succession. This makes CEWE one of the few German companies to consistently raise dividends over a period covering so many years.
2021 outlook: EBIT expected to be in the range of 72 to 84 million euros
Group turnover in 2021 is to achieve a figure in the range of 710 to 770 million euros. Group EBIT is expected to be in a corridor of 72 million to 84 million euros in 2021, EBT is to be in the range of 70 to 82 million euros, and earnings after tax between 48 million and 56 million euros. The targets for the 2021 financial year are more or less expected and the range reflects the uncertainty resulting currently from the coronavirus situation in general and its potential impact on CEWE's business development. It hence follows that at this point in time it is not possible to reliably forecast when or how quickly it will become clear that the end of the pandemic, or even its worsening as a result of the ongoing spread of virus mutations, is to be expected. The operative investments scheduled for 2021 ought to be in a scale of around 48 million euros.
CEWE operates sustainably
CEWE views sustainability with an integrated approach – ecologically, economically and socially. Sustainability is deeply rooted in CEWE activities. The company has been reporting regularly on its sustainability initiatives and the progress it has made in this respect since as early as 2010, with CEWE commencing with climate-neutral production of all its brand-name products as early as in 2016. CEWE already achieved its own climate targets, originally set for 2025, last year: carbon emissions (scope 1 and 2) were reduced to almost half of the 2015 emissions. In order to further improve ecological sustainability, CEWE also carried out extensive preparatory work in the previous financial year: in 2020, a sustainability scorecard developed especially for this purpose was used for the first time to check all the products. This involved the definition of more than 40 criteria along a product life cycle in the four categories of "raw materials and the supply chain", "production", "utilisation phase" and "end of product life". CEWE is pursuing the aim of rigorously creating increasingly sustainable products with the establishment of this continuous process of improvement. Along with the 2020 Annual Report, the new Sustainability Report is now also available online at company.cewe.de or ir.cewe.de.