CEWE planning its twelfth consecutive dividend increase
CEWE Stiftung & Co. KGaA (SDAX, ISIN: DE 0005403901) concluded its 2020 financial year with a clear increase in earnings according to initial, as yet uncertified, figures which show operative earnings (EBIT) at 79.7 million euros (2019: 56.8 million euros). Turnover rose to 727.3 million euros (2019: 720.4 million euros). Renewed growth in photofinishing played a decisive role in the outstanding Christmas business, with stimulated online business as well as the stay-at-home effect resulting in growth for all the product categories in the CEWE core business segment: sales of CEWE PHOTOBOOKS, photo calendars, wall art, greeting cards and many other photo gifts went up in the Christmas season. Besides additional contribution margins from the rise in sales, the cost-reduction programme, initiated as early as in March at the onset of the pandemic, also improved the EBIT against that of the previous year. Photofinishing thus clearly more than compensated for the negative impact of the retailing and commercial online printing business segments which were hard hit by coronavirus and the related lockdown. On the basis of the growth in earnings, the dividend for the financial year is to be increased to 2.30 euros (previous year: 2.00 euros). Provided that approval is given at the Annual General Meeting, this will be the twelfth consecutive dividend increase. This makes CEWE one of the few German companies to be able to consistently raise dividends over a period covering so many years.
First-class delivery performance in Q4
Brisk Christmas business remained a reliable constant for CEWE, even in the virtually unpredictable financial year of 2020, with Q4 2020, at turnover in the amount of 314 million euros (Q4 2019: 293.2 million euros), delivering a clear increase in earnings to EBIT in the amount of 80.3 million euros (Q4 2019: 58.8 million euros). This saw CEWE benefiting considerably from its early transformation to a digital business model: by far the largest proportion of photo orders nowadays is placed online or even remotely with the help of apps, an effect that was given an extra boost by the pandemic. This is especially true for CEWE Group retail partners, who were impaired in more ways than one by the virus but for whom it was also possible to have more and more online orders delivered to homes by mailorder.
Growth on a diversified basis
This does not mean that growth in the field of photofinishing is only based on its main product, the CEWE PHOTOBOOK; the other product groups such as photo calendars, wall art, greeting cards and many more photo gifts also all raised turnover. Sales of the CEWE PHOTOBOOK, at 6.52 million books (2019: 6.62 million books), and the total number of prints across all the products, at 2.34 billion prints (2019: 2.40 billion prints), fell slightly short of those of the previous year. More than anything else, a coronavirus-related change in attitudes towards photography among many consumers resulted in fewer photos being taken in 2020 and hence to fewer photos being available for photo products.
Stable development in difficult times for the economy in general
"Particularly in these pandemic times, the loyalty of our customers and the outstanding work performed by our staff are of inestimable value. Customers made very conscious decisions in favour of our top-class photo products, even during the stay-at-home phase caused by the pandemic. We really are proud of how superbly the CEWE team collaborated to get attractive photo gifts ready for our customers, especially during this somewhat different Christmas season," emphasises Dr. Christian Friege, CEWE Stiftung & Co. KGaA CEO.
Dividend to increase for the twelfth time in succession
On the basis of preliminary results for the 2020 financial year the Board of Management of CEWE Stiftung & Co. KGaA resolved to propose to the Supervisory Board that the dividend for each eligible share be raised to 2.30 euros (dividend for the 2019 financial year: 2.00 euros). Subject to the approval of the Supervisory Board in its meeting on the financial statements on 17 March 2021 and of the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting on 9 June 2021, the proposed dividend of 2.30 euros a share is equivalent to a dividend yield of 2.5% on the basis of the year-end share price of 92.50 euros. It is the twelfth consecutive dividend increase as well as being the highest dividend in the history of the company.
Details on the financial year of 2020 are all based on preliminary, as yet uncertified data. Audited annual financial statements will all be presented at the Annual Report and analysts' press conference on 25 March 2021.