Security Printing Division
The Security Printing Division posted net revenue of CHF 112.3 million in 2018, a reduction of some 13% compared to the previous year (CHF 129.8 million). The decline in net revenue was attributable to changes in the product mix and lower order intake. Operating earnings (EBIT) before special items amounted to CHF 18.8 million (CHF 20.1 million in 2017). Further operating improvements in terms of productivity and waste levels, as well as a reduction in fixed costs compared to the previous year, were unable to offset in full the decline in gross income due to changes in the product mix. Operating earnings (EBIT) of CHF 18.0 million were some 11% lower than in the previous year (CHF 20.1 million). This figure includes exceptional expenditure in connection with optimisation and strategy analyses (CHF -0.8 million).
In 2018 the Security Printing Division reported a workload-related reduction in output of some 5% compared to the previous year. Production volumes for its two anchor customers were lower for the first time since 2014. This was mainly attributable to the fact that the issue of new series of banknotes was either already complete or approaching its conclusion and thus order volumes were gradually adjusting again to a normal level. This effect was partially offset by the acquisition of new orders from third-party customers for production in 2018 and subsequent years. Overall, several third-party customers with attractive volumes of banknotes were won over by the company’s qualities in the year under review. In addition, market-related cooperation with Landqart Ltd commenced and is to be further intensified in the years to come. However, successfully positioning ourselves as a supplier of high-quality and at the same time economically attractive banknotes remains a challenging task in the medium term in a keenly competitive market environment.
The high-quality series of banknotes featuring unique security technology are proving their worth in circulation. The Swiss National Bank issued a further new denomination in the shape of the 200-Swiss franc note in the summer of 2018. The issue of Switzerland’s new series of banknotes will conclude in 2019 with the 1000- and 100-Swiss franc notes. The progressive issue process significantly reduces development expenditure for the new series of banknotes. Resources that are released will in future be applied to the formation of strategic partnerships and the acquisition of new customers. The experience gained since the initial issue of the new series of banknotes has enabled the manufacturing process to be further optimised continuously and quality to be significantly enhanced. Alongside the stabilisation of the manufacturing process, machine speeds have been increased. These steps resulted in a year-on-year improvement in productivity of some 5% overall. Further potential exists in the optimisation of setup processes and the reduction of downtimes. No major investments in production machines were made in the year under review. Attention was focused on the selective updating and implementation of improvements in security – on systems, on the infrastructure and in the building.
For the Security Printing Division 2019 will be dominated by a further significant increase in the volume of third-party orders acquired as well as the economically optimal alignment of the company to the expected shift in the product mix.