CEWE clearly on track to reach targets after Q3
Photofinishing: Considerable increase in turnover and strong CEWE PHOTOBOOK sales
The development of the core business segment of photofinishing was decisive for the positive development in the first three quarters: at 316.9 million euros, turnover was 12.9% higher than in the same period of the previous year (Q1-3 2018: 280.8 million euros). The acquisitions of Cheerz and WhiteWall as well as organic growth contributed to this success. The CEWE PHOTOBOOK in particular made a decisive contribution in this case: in the first three quarters of 2019, sales grew to 3.97 million books sold - an increase of 7.6% (Q1-3 2018: 3.69 million books sold), which exceeded the expectation for an increase of 1-2 %. The 60 millionth CEWE PHOTOBOOK was also delivered in the quarter of the report - to a customer in Austria. The development in sales of brand-name products CEWE WALL ART, CEWE CALENDARS and CEWE CARDS was similarly positive. In spite of the contributions to earnings from the latest acquisitions, which remained negative as budgeted, in the first three quarters EBIT improved overall, to 3.2 million euros (Q1-3 2018: 2.2 million euros). The trend towards high-quality photo products was maintained unchanged: in Q1-3, turnover per photo rose by a considerable 5.6%, to 21 eurocents (Q1-3 2018: 19.88 eurocents).
Commercial Online-Print develops positively despite difficult market conditions
In a difficult market environment, CEWE was able to increase its sales in the business segment of commercial online printing for the first three quarters, by 2.8% to 75.1 million euros (Q1-3 2018: 73.0 million euros). This saw the generally high price pressure and in particular the LASERLINE price positioning dampening growth. Commercial online printing improved its contribution to consolidated income overall in the first three quarterly periods, by a respectable 1.3 million euros, with EBIT at -2.3 million euros (Q1-3 2018: -3.6 million euros).
Hardware sales in retailing to be further reduced as scheduled
Retail hardware sales will be further reduced as scheduled on the basis of the focus on photofinishing business and of abandoning low-margin hardware business, in particular business with cameras. In the first three quarters, this line of business, at 31.2 million euros, fell short of the same period of the previous year by 10.9% (Q1-3 2018: 35.1 million euros). In spite of a significant reduction in sales, the retail contribution to earnings was maintained at the same level as that of the previous year, with EBIT at -0.77 million euros (Q1-3 2018: -0.79 million euros). Retailing also traditionally earns its annual net income in the fourth quarter. The turnover achieved with photofinishing products in retailing, which is growing, is reported in the photofinishing business segment.
Positive outlook for Christmas business in Q4
The Christmas business conducted in the fourth quarter is traditionally crucial for CEWE's annual net income. The high-quality brand-name products have been established as ideal, most personal Christmas gifts. This year again, CEWE is thus presenting many new products as photo gifts in time for the Christmas season, examples being the CEWE PHOTOBOOK with leather or canvas binding, or with hardcover enhancements with pink gold and calendar gift packages. "Our customers appreciate the individuality just as much as the feel of the surface of our products – and not least of all, they also appreciate our perfect service. With the current financial year developing so positively, we expect Christmas business that ensures that we once again meet all our corporate targets. Besides, given the good run-up period, we only need earnings to grow by 0.5 million euros in the fourth quarter in order to actually reach the top end of 58 million euros in our EBIT target corridor", says Dr. Friege.
Sound capital ratio, ROCE at a pleasing 15.8%
The capital ratio was at a sound level of 46.2% as at 30 September 2019 (30 September 2018: 52.6%). This figure would even have risen to 52.8% without a balance sheet extension of around 64.5 million euros based on IFRS 16 (lease accounting). The return on capital employed (ROCE) as a key performance indicator for a return on assets improved by a pleasing 15.8% as at 30 September 2019 (30 September 2018: 15.0%). The ROCE would have even reached 18.2% without the IFRS 16 balance sheet extension. CFO Dr. Olaf Holzkämper: "Our financial situation is sound throughout across all our performance indicators. This enables us to continue to improve our business segments in future as well and to invest when this is reasonable. This corporate strategy benefits our employees, our customers and not least our shareholders. We thus wish to maintain the tradition of our year on year dividend increases."