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NEUTRAUBLING (dpa-AFX) – Despite a sharp decline in revenue and operating earnings, the filling and packaging equipment manufacturer KRONES started the year better than expected. The company announced on Friday in Neutraubling that sales in the first three months had fallen by around seven percent to 875 million compared to the same period in the previous year. The decline in revenue is a consequence of the weaker order intake from the second and third quarters of 2020. In addition, Europe is recovering more slowly from the pandemic than other regions in which Krones is active.
The operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) fell twice as much as sales to 76.5 million euros. However, Krones performed better on both key figures than industry experts had expected. The board of directors around CEO Christoph Klenk emphasized that the results of the first quarter of 2020 were only slightly influenced by the corona crisis. The bottom line is that Krones earned around 16 percent less than a year ago. The surplus in the first quarter of 32.8 million euros was even below the value of 2019.
The numbers were well received on the stock exchange. The Krones share gained up to three percent in the morning and was most recently one of the strongest stocks in the SDAX small cap index with a plus of 1.37 percent to EUR 74.20.
The board of directors was optimistic about the increase in orders. “The upward trend in incoming orders continues,” it said. In the first quarter, the value compared to the same quarter of the previous year increased by 27 percent to just under 1.1 billion euros. This means that Krones is back at the pre-crisis level. The corona pandemic continues to affect customers’ willingness to invest, wrote Klenk. “But the numbers for the first quarter support our optimism.” In addition, the in-house measures to cut costs, which the group had already initiated in 2019, took effect.
The management is sticking to its goals for the current year. Sales should increase by 2.5 to 3.5 percent. The operating margin measured in terms of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda margin) is expected to increase to 6.5 to 7.5 percent, after the value in Corona year 2020 fell by 1.7 percentage points to 4 percent. In addition, before taxes, 3 to 4 percent of sales should now remain with the company as profit. In the first quarter this value was 5.1 percent.
Like other companies, Krones also makes its forecasts on the condition that the corona pandemic will not result in serious stress such as serious virus mutations or vaccination problems.
Krones manufactures machines and systems for filling liquid food and beverages such as beer, juice and soft drinks. According to the company, millions of bottles, cans and molded containers are processed with it every day. The group also serves dairies, water manufacturers and wine and spirits producers./ngu/stw/fba