For FY 2019, Agfa-Gevaert posted earnings of 2,239 million euros, a 2 percent rise compared to the year prior. Headwinds related to the printing industry incited the Mortsel-based company to take a more cautious stance towards its future offset activities and to book an impairment loss of 67 million euros in the fourth quarter. All other divisions delivered underlying profit growth. Including the impairment loss, the net result was minus 48 million (19 million before). Q4 alone brought 599 million euros in revenue, up 2 percent year-over-year, and a net loss of 57 million, due to the offset impairment.
Although its FY revenue remained almost stable at 843 million euros, the Offset Solutions division is active in structurally declining markets, with a strong drop in demand for analog prepress technology and decreasing newspaper and commercial print volumes. It also continues to face price pressure, caused by intense competition, as well as high aluminum costs. As a large part of the division’s printing plates are manufactured in China, the recent coronavirus outbreak is likely to have an impact on the business as well. These developments explain the booking of the impairment loss. One of Agfa’s main priorities is to implement a comprehensive plan to improve the profitability of Offset Solutions.
The Healthcare IT division’s top line increased by 3 percent to 505 million euros. The sale of part of these activities to Dedalus is well on track. All regulatory approvals have been received and all employee consultation requirements have been met. Both parties aim to close the transaction in the course of the second quarter of 2020. “The sale will be a major step in our transformation process. Going forward, Agfa Healthcare will focus on Imaging IT Solutions. Imaging IT Solutions performed well in 2019, positively contributing to our profitability growth,” comments Pascal Juéry, Agfa’s new president and CEO.
The Radiology Solutions division realized a 4 percent revenue increase to 536 million euros. The top-line growth of the hardcopy and direct radiography ranges was partly counterbalanced by the market-driven decline in computed radiography sales. Based on the strong performance of its core businesses, the Digital Print & Chemicals division’s top line increased by 5.5 percent to 355 million euros.