Monday, 24 Jun 2019 11:41 GMT

Walstead optimistic for 2019 market conditions

Having navigated “adverse market conditions” in 2018, Walstead is optimistic for a less challenging 2019.

The commercial print group recently revealed its preliminary unaudited consolidated financial results for the 12-month period ending December 31st, 2018.

The results show that despite challenges such as “substantial” price increases for paper, the firm achieved a gross revenue increase of 8.6% to €520.5m (£464.9m) compared to €479.5m (£428.3m) in 2017.

Although the group’s overall earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and exceptional charges decreased by 8.9% to €47m (£42m), its manufacturing output increased by 1.9% to 10.9 billion pages.

Commenting on the market conditions of 2018, Mark Scanlon, chairman of Walstead says: “These are commendable results considering the adverse market conditions our industry experienced during the year.

For the first time in many years, the sector suffered substantial price increases for paper which resulted in print budgets being reduced to counter these higher costs

“For the first time in many years, the sector suffered substantial price increases for paper which resulted in print budgets being reduced to counter these higher costs. This dynamic then created print capacity at many of our competitors who reacted by reducing prices to attract new work to fill their presses.”

Despite a rocky year, Scanlon says that although Walstead expects 2019 to remain challenging, the firm hopes this won’t be to the degree encountered in 2018.

Scanlon adds: “We are not relying on any improvement in conditions but will as always keep a firm grip on costs to ensure our margins and competitiveness are maintained. We will continue with our strategy to acquire leading web offset businesses in complementary locations to maintain and improve our market position and increase our earnings and cash flows.”

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