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Possehl posts double-digit growth and record earnings

Net sales up by approximately 45 per cent to € 2.5 billion
• Operating result grows by over 70 per cent to reach a new high
• Net financial position remains positive
• Contract for acquisition of Manroland’s webfed printing systems operations has been signed
• Total number of employees worldwide to rise to more than 10,000 for the first time

Lübeck, Germany, 02.02.2012. The Possehl Group continued on its long-term growth path in fiscal year 2011 and significantly exceeded its sales target. According to preliminary figures, the Lübeck-based conglomerate generated sales of € 2.5 billion in the year under review. This corresponds to growth of over 45 per cent compared to the previous year. In addition to new acquisitions, which accounted for almost half of the increase in sales, this growth was attributable to positive developments at almost all the Group’s existing divisions. The Possehl Group recorded the highest growth rates in its machine building activities and its precious metal dealings. The construction segment also proved highly successful.

Possehl’s consolidated pre-tax operating profit rose by a good 70 per cent compared to the previous year, when the Group posted its previous all-time high. The latest figure is expected to come in between € 135 and € 145 million. All nine divisions at the Group were also profitable in the year under review. Consolidated net profit was boosted by one-off income from the sale of a block of stock in elexis AG, Wenden. ‘We are very happy with the earnings figure. It proves that our corporate strategy of sustainable, profitable growth is paying off,’ said Uwe Lüders, chairman of the executive board of L. Possehl & Co. mbH.

The Possehl Group can still boast very sound financing. Its net cash position remains positive at the end of the fiscal year with virtually no change against the previous year. This means the Possehl Group is still debt-free on a net basis, despite its strong growth. The company acquisitions completed in the year under review were funded entirely using the Group’s own resources. ‘We want to continue acquiring companies without incurring bank debt in the future. Our aim is to keep growing, but in a very sensible fashion. We will remain true to our principle of doing nothing which we cannot afford or which is too risky,’ said Lüders.

Purchase agreement for acquisition of Manroland’s webfed printing systems signed
The receiver acting for Manroland AG i.I., Werner Schneider, and Possehl have signed a purchase agreement for the acquisition of the former firm’s webfed printing systems operations at its site in Augsburg, Germany.

In the future, the activities acquired by Possehl will be managed by the newly established firm Manroland web systems GmbH. The new company is one of the world’s top three manufacturers of newspaper and publication printing systems. Lüders will manage the firm himself on a temporary basis.

The new firm will provide long-term, secure jobs for approximately 1,400 people. This means that more than half of the jobs at the Augsburg site have been saved.

Looking forwards, Lüders said, ‘The new company has outstandingly well-trained staff, a good market position, and up-to-date, high-performance products. By talking to a large number of customers, I have established that there is still a high demand for Manroland as a reliable partner in the future.’ The new firm will generate annual sales in the region of € 300 million in the future.

In recent years, Possehl has proved on many occasions that it is capable of turning around companies which have been in financial difficulties and managing them successfully long term. The most recent example of this is Böwe Systec, a manufacturer of envelope stuffing systems which is also based in Augsburg. Following the takeover by Possehl at the end of 2010 and the company’s realignment in line with mid-market principles, Böwe Systec was back in the black just one year after filing for bankruptcy.

Workforce to exceed 10,000 for the first time
Due to the takeover of Manroland web systems GmbH and good business developments, the total number of employees at the Possehl Group is set to exceed 10,000 for the first time. Approximately two thirds of these jobs will be in Germany.

About Possehl
Managed by the holding company L Possehl & Co. mbH, the Possehl Group is a diversified group which currently has ten independently operating divisions organized within a decentralized structure. The Possehl Group is comprised of L Possehl & Co. mbH and approximately 140 subsidiaries in more than 30 different countries. According to preliminary figures, the Possehl Group generated sales of around € 2.5 billion in fiscal year 2011. At present, Possehl has more than 10,000 employees around the world.

The Company was established by Ludwig Possehl in 1847 for local trading in iron goods. The non-profit foundation Possehl-Stiftung has been the sole shareholder since 1919. This corporate structure enables the Possehl Group to remain independent and lays the foundations for long-term corporate decisions.

More information about Possehl can be found at: www.possehl.de.

© Graphic Repro On-line, 2 - 3 February 2012.