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CEWE increases dividend for the ninth consecutive year

CEWE Stiftung & Co. KGaA (SDAX, ISIN: DE 0005403901) is proposing the ninth consecutive dividend increase to its shareholders. After a business year 2017, which saw the Group achieving all its corporate targets, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board are to propose a dividend of 1.85 euros per share for the business year of 2017 at the Annual General Meeting to be held on 6 June 2018 (dividend of previous year: 1.80 euros). "Our earning power and our sound balance sheet allow us to positively increase our dividend for the ninth consecutive year," explains Dr. Olaf Holzkämper, CFO of the CEWE-Group. On the basis 2017 year-end share price, shareholders are getting a dividend yield of 2.1 % with the dividend now proposed.

Success is powered by the CEWE PHOTO BOOK and other CEWE brands
With an increase in turnover from 228.5 million euros to 234.5 million euros and operative earnings (EBIT) of 46.1 million euros, the Christmas quarter fully met expectations (EBIT for Q4 2016: 42.9 million euros). The fourth quarter thus accounts for 39.1 per cent of total sales and 93.6 per cent of generated income, with photo gifts, CEWE CALENDARS and the CEWE INSTANT printed in retail stores being the main drivers of the increases in sales. Sales figures for the CEWE PHOTO BOOK even exceeded those of the previous year due to brisk Christmas business in the fourth quarter, so the negative effects of the increase in value added tax, from 7 % to 19 %, were more than compensated for. "More than ever, our CEWE PHOTO BOOK and our other digital picture offers are popular Christmas gifts. Even when capacity utilisation is very high, as it is in the Christmas season, our customers know that we always work with an absolute focus on quality and service. They can rely on punctual delivery and excellent product quality with each order they place. Keeping this brand promise has meant that customer satisfaction has once again been enhanced," says Dr. Christian Friege, CEO of the company.

Sales targets all reached – digital rate approaching 100 %
CEWE has almost completed the transformation to become a purely digital company: With production at 2.17 billion digital photos, CEWE was able to achieve the target of 2.08 to 2.18 billion digital photos in 2017 at a high level. Only 47 billion photos from films were posted in the books last year. The digital rate thus rose to 97.8 % (2016: 97.5 %). With 6.02 million books sold, the CEWE PHOTO BOOK (target for 2017: 6.00-6.25 million books) is a significant guarantee for a good result. The majority of other high-growth brand products such as CEWE CALENDARS, CEWE WALL ART, CEWE CARDS and other photo gifts are showing excellent results.

ROCE remains at more than 20 %
The capital ratio rose by 2.1 percentage points to 56.0 % as at 31 December 2017 (31 December 2016: 53.8 %). On the basis of operative earnings (EBIT) of 49.2 million euros, the return on capital employed (ROCE) was again at a high level of 20.1 % on 31 December 2017 (31 December 2016: 21.3 %). "Our strong earnings and financial position enables us to launch targeted growth initiatives. We wish to continue offering our shareholders an ideally growing dividend for the foreseeable future," explains CFO Holzkämper.

Takeovers promise further growth
In the past few months, CEWE has taken over the online printing company Laserline as well as acquiring 80 % of the shares in leading French photo app company "Cheerz". The company is using these two acquisitions to set a growth impulse in photofinishing and commercial online printing, and expects to generate sustained positive effects on the value of CEWE as a whole.

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