The results include six months’ trading from NP Druck, acquired on 29 June 2018, and three month’s contribution from LSC Communications’ European printing division (renamed Walstead Central Europe), acquired on 28 September 2018.
The group’s gross revenue increased by 8.6% to €520.5 million (2017: €479.5 million). Net revenue (gross revenue minus paper costs) increased by 4.8% to €314.0 million (2017: €299.6 million).
EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and exceptional charges) decreased by 8.9% to €47.0 million (2017: €51.6 million).
Manufacturing output (measured by the number of A4 pages printed on the group’s 65 web offset presses and four gravure presses) increased by 1.9% to 10.9 billion pages (2017: 10.7 billion pages).
Mark Scanlon, chairman of Walstead, commented: “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. This dynamic then created print capacity at many of our competitors who reacted by reducing prices to attract new work to fill their presses. We expect trading in 2019 to remain challenging but not, hopefully, to the degree encountered in 2018. However, 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.”
Walstead Group Limited is headquartered in London and is the largest commercial web offset printing business in Europe with pro-forma revenues of approximately €700 million. Founded in 2008, Walstead has completed 10 acquisitions. It operates four territory-based divisions (Walstead United Kingdom, Walstead Iberia, Walstead Leykam, and Walstead Central Europe) which together employ 3,700 staff at 15 print manufacturing sites in the UK, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Poland.
Within the last four years Walstead has become the largest web offset printer in Europe, and recognised as the most successful consolidator in the sector.
The group now has 65 web offset presses and four gravure presses that process over 900,000 tonnes of paper annually. Walstead specialises in printing high volume advertising flyers and leaflets for major European retailers; and magazines, catalogues, supplements and brochures for publishers and brand owners. The group also provides pre-media digital services through its Rhapsody division which has offices in London, Warsaw and Madrid.
Mark Scanlon, chairman, Walstead Group
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