Agfa reports weak Q1 but look towards further recovery in graphics market

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Compared to 2008, Group revenue decreased 9.1 percent to 2,755 million Euro. The crisis-driven decline in Agfa-Gevaert's markets started to bottom-out in the second half of the year.

In spite of the sales decline and manufacturing inefficiencies due to lower use of capacity in the first quarters of the year, the Group's recurring gross profit margin improved from 31.7 percent in 2008 to 32.2 percent. This was mainly due to the successful efficiency improvement programs, lower raw material prices and certain one-off effects.

Agfa-Gevaert is ahead of its plans to reduce its Selling and General Administration expenses. The average monthly SG&A expense was brought down from 64 million Euro in 2007 and 54 million Euro in 2008 to 46 million Euro in 2009. The year on year SG&A cost decrease amounted to 14.5 percent. The SG&A expenses represented 20.1 percent of revenue, compared to 23.3 percent in 2007 and 21.3 percent in 2008.

The Group's recurring EBITDA (the sum of Graphics, HealthCare, Specialty Products and the unallocated portion) increased from 251 million Euro in 2008 to 284 million Euro. Recurring EBIT improved from 135 million Euro to 182 million Euro.

Restructuring and non-recurring items resulted in an expense of 12 million Euro, versus an expense of 158 million Euro in 2008.The 2009 figures were positively influenced by changes in the post-retirement medical plans in theUSAand by changes in the defined benefit plans in theUSAandGermany.The 2008 figures were affected by a considerable impairment loss on goodwill.

The net finance costs amounted to minus 114 million Euro, compared to minus 83 million Euro in 2008. This increase was due to the increased pension deficit, which was caused by the evolution of the stock markets in 2008.

Income tax expense amounted to 49 million Euro versus 60 million Euro in 2008. Current tax expense amounted to 14 million Euro and deferred tax expense amounted to 35 million Euro (non-cash item).

Mainly due to the strong operational performance in all business groups in the last quarters of the year, a positive net result of 6 million Euro was booked, compared to minus 167 million Euro in 2008. The 2008 result was subject to the aforementioned impairment loss, an exceptional tax charge and considerable restructuring costs.

Balance sheet and cash flow

  • At the end of 2009, total assets were 2,852 million Euro, compared to 3,160 million Euro at the end of 2008.
  • Inventories were 483 million Euro (or 93 days). Trade receivables (minus deferred revenue and advanced payments from customers) amounted to 469 million Euro, or 58 days and trade payables were 206 million Euro, or 40 days.
  • Due to continued targeted efforts, net financial debt improved to 445 million Euro, versus 673 million Euro at the end of 2008 and 721 million Euro at the end of 2007.
  • Net cash from operating activities amounted to 266 million Euro.


Agfa Graphics' revenue decreased 11.9 percent compared to 2008. The effects of the economic slowdown - which surfaced in the course of 2008 - persisted in the first quarters of 2009. In the second half of the year the crisis-driven decline started to bottom-out. In the last months of 2009 both the prepress and the inkjet market started to recover, mainly inNorth Americaand the emerging countries. However, the crisis-related increased competitive pressure in the Computer-to-Plate segment continued throughout the year.

Agfa Graphics is successfully implementing its plans to reduce its SG&A costs. Compared to 2008, these costs were reduced by50million Euro.

Together with the measures to improve operational efficiency, these efforts clearly supported Agfa Graphics' profitability, resulting in a particularly strong fourth quarter performance. Lower raw material prices and certain one-off effects also had a positive influence. Year-on-year, these beneficial elements were counterbalanced by crisis-related elements, such as the underutilization of the manufacturing capacity, bad debt provisions and increased competitive pressure.

Fourth quarter results

The Agfa-Gevaert Group's fourth quarter revenue decreased 3.4 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2008. Excluding currency effects, the decline would be limited to 1.0 percent. This improvement compared to the previous quarters of the year shows that Agfa-Gevaert's markets are starting to recover from the effects of the economic crisis.

The Group reduced its SG&A costs by 17 million Euro compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. By reducing their costs and improving their operational efficiency, all business groups contributed to the strong improvement of profitability. The recurring EBITDA increased to 97 million Euro (13.2 percent of revenue) and the recurring EBIT increased to 73 million Euro (9.9 percent of revenue). The Group's net result amounted to 20 million Euro.

Recent judgments in arbitration cases relating to AgfaPhoto - such as the judgments concerning the hereditary building rights and the alleged misconduct of Agfa-Gevaert in connection with the sale of the Consumer Imaging division - have been in favor of Agfa-Gevaert.

Agfa Graphics

Traditionally, the fourth quarter is the strongest for the printing industry. Agfa Graphics' revenue decreased 6.8 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. The decline is far less pronounced than in the previous quarters of the year, due to the strong performance of the Computer-to-Film segment in the BRIC countries, the booking of revenues for a number of contracts for high-end inkjet equipment and the burgeoning recovery of the graphic markets. The shift of part of the film business (for Computer-to-Film applications) from Agfa Specialty Products to Agfa Graphics as a result of changes in the competitive landscape also had a beneficial impact on Agfa Graphics' revenue. The business group's efforts to reduce its operational costs are clearly paying off. The recurring EBITDA margin improved to 11.5 percent and the EBIT margin to 8.5 percent.

In industrial inkjet, the highlight of the fourth quarter of 2009 was the agreement to acquire most of the assets of Gandi Innovations Holdings LLC's North American operations and the shares of its principal foreign subsidiaries. Gandi Innovations is a leading supplier of large format inkjet printing systems in the mid-range market segment. Their product offering is complementary to Agfa Graphics' range of entry-level :Anapurna large format printers and high-end :M-Press Tiger and :Dotrix inkjet machines. The deal was finalized in the beginning of 2010.

Also in inkjet, new :M-Press Tiger presses - the second generation of the :M-Press industrial flatbed press - will soon be installed at printers in theUK,Australia,Canada, theUSAandFrance.In the fourth quarter, the :Anapurna large format printers also continued to sell well. As their installed base is growing gradually, these systems are now starting to generate more substantial ink sales.

In the field of prepress, Agfa Graphics unveiled a number of technological innovations at the IFRA 2009 newspaper trade show (Vienna,Austria). These innovations allow newspaper printers to improve the efficiency of their prepress departments. :Arkitex Portal, for instance, is a new addition to Agfa Graphics' popular :Arkitex software for managing and controlling the production process for newspaper publishers. Agfa Graphics also introduced a high speed option for its range of :Advantage N platesetters. Due to the new option, platesetters can produce significantly more printing plates per hour.

In January 2010, Agfa Graphics signed a letter of intent with its business partner Shenzhen Brothers for the establishment of a joint venture aiming at reinforcing both partners' market position in the Greater China and ASEAN region.Agfa Graphics is convinced that the combination of Shenzhen Brothers' strong relationship with local suppliers and governments and Agfa Graphics' know-how and leading technology will facilitate the realization of both companies' ambitious growth plans.


It is expected that the graphic markets will continue to recover in the course of 2010. At present, the recovery is stronger in North America and the emerging countries than in most Western European countries. As a result, Agfa Graphics expects a stronger first quarter performance in 2010. The effects of the aforementioned acquisition of Gandi Innovations will slowly become apparent in the course of the year. The effects of the joint venture with the Chinese Shenzhen Brothers company will start to kick in in the course of the second half of the year.