16 February 2020 Digital Printing Technologies

Cut sheet sales rise as Ricoh suffers from delayed decisions

At the three quarters mark, Ricoh sales are slightly down but the company remains optimistic for the full year.

Ricoh is selling more cut sheet printers this year than last, but has not been able to grow overall sales for its commercial print business in the first nine months of the 2019 financial year.

Overall, compensating for exchange shifts, sales for the first three quarters were ¥1.8 billion lower than in 2018. This amounts to revenues of ¥133.3 billion (¥135.1 billion). The company blames a drop in non machine revenues in mono transactional printing. It had received a large order from the US to replace older machines and this led to a drop in maintenance and consumables revenues, it says.

Elsewhere orders which were expected to be completed in Q3 have been delayed and should be recorded in the final three months of the year; the decrease is a temporary dip, the company says. The increase in cut sheet sales is in line with expectations and reflects the products launched in the previous 12 months, namely the Pro C7200 and Pro C9200 series machines. This means too that R&D expenditures will fall in line with the slackening of launch activity.

The company’s office printers dropped, but sales of IT services, which are focused on Japan, increased. The drop in office printer revenues was not unexpected. The tariffs imposed in the US China trade war have dented demand while the company has also sharpened a focus on profitable sales.

Elsewhere strong demand for inkjet printheads helped push up sales in the industrial print division. This covers large format inkjet printers as well as the printheads. The company is also enjoying a sales rise from the arrival of new large format inkjet printers, both roll to roll and flatbed printers.

There has been strong demand for inkjet heads from China but how this will be hit by the coronavirus will be one of the unknowns for the coming period. Ricoh employs 11,000 across 17 sites in China and has already repatriated Japanese staff. It holds stocks for around a month’s requirement, mostly of office printers, and is currently not warning of any problems.

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Ricoh will continue to emphasise sales of inkjet presses as part of the corporate strategy. Orders for some have been held over from Q3 to Q4 resulting in a fall in sales in commercial printing the first nine months of the year despite an increase in installations of cut sheet presses.

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