16 February 2020 Business

Leading on price revives interest in Manroland Sheetfed presses

A decision to compete on price has proved successful for Manroland Sheetfed, says owner Tony Langley.

Manroland Sheetfed’s numbers recovered after a slow first six months, although a growth in orders received in the second six months had not translated into delivered presses, and therefore sales, by the end of the financial year.

The German press manufacturer is a subsidiary of British company Langley Holdings which has reported 2019 sales of €820.2 million (€848.4 million) and pretax profits of €59.9 million (€103.5 million). Manroland Sheetfed revenues dropped from €259.8 million to €203.5 million.

Chairman Tony Langley comments that sales were slow in the first six months due to aggressive pricing by competitors. It led in July to a change of strategy, which increased the order intake, if at reduced margins. It was not enough, he explains, to rebalance the first six months, but the company ended the year with an order backlog of €61.2 million compared to €27.4 million at the start of 2019.

The focus of the business is on the B1 Roland 700 Evolution, launched at Drupa in 2016 and now well established. A new model will be launched at this year’s show.

The change in direction has been reflected in the UK, where under managing director Peter Redmond, Manroland Sheetfed is now talking about new installations. “We had taken our eye off the ball as regards representing ourselves so people were not coming to knock at the door, so we have had to explain and help them understand the brand.

“This year, people are talking to us about new projects. People are looking to do things differently.”

While the company has been successful in China and mainland Europe, UK business has focused on service and spares for existing machines. Now Paul Guy has joined as national sales manager for the UK and Ireland to boost the company’s presence. “The companies that we hadn’t touched through service believed that Manroland had stopped manufacturing presses. Now they are willing to come and see us.

“It’s still very early days, though there is a real affection for Manroland as a brand. That goes only so far, now it’s all about the performance of the machine. And for some the experience is that the 10-15 year old Manroland can be preferred to two- or three-year-old machines from other manufacturers.”

Langley has welcomed the new clarity over Brexit, though says the group is keeping a watchful eye on developments in China.

The company continues to repurpose or sell unwanted facilities belonging to Manroland Sheetfed. Among this is a tract of land that will brining in €19 million when the deal is completed in March.

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Manroland HQ in Germany

Manroland HQ in Germany

Manroland Sheetfed is in full production thanks to a pick up in orders in the second half of the 2019 financial year resulting in a substantial order backlog at the end of 2019.

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