The European imaging and printing service provider Cewe closed the 2020 financial year with a significant increase in earnings: According to preliminary, unaudited figures, the operating result (EBIT) rose by more than 40 percent to Euro 79.7 million, while sales rose slightly by just under one percent to Euro 727.3 million. The Board will therefore propose to the Annual General Meeting to increase the annual dividend for the twelfth time in a row, namely by 15 percent to Euro 2.30.
In addition to higher margins from increased sales, the cost-cutting program initiated at the beginning of the Corona pandemic in March 2020 also contributed to the strong growth in the operating result. With its strong photofinishing business, Cewe was able to more than compensate for the lower sales in the retail and commercial online printing business areas, which were heavily affected by the lockdown measures initiated by the government to combat the corona pandemic.
In the Corona year 2020, the Holiday business continued to be a reliable asset of Cewe. In the fourth quarter of 2020, sales rose by 7.1 percent to Euro 314.0 million, while EBIT grew by 36.5 percent to Euro 80.3 million. In a press release, the company pointed out that its early transformation to digital business models paid off. The vast majority of photo products are now ordered through the Internet or via mobile apps. Retailing partners were also able to benefit from this development because online orders were delivered directly to customers’ homes even when shops were closed.
The sales growth was created not only by the flagship product Cewe photo book, but also by the strong demand for photo calendars, wall decoration, greeting cards and many other photo gifts. The value of the orders was well above the development of the quantities: Because in the crisis year consumers had fewer opportunities to take photos at vacation trips, events or family celebrations, sales of the Cewe photo book fell slightly by 1.6 percent to 6.52 million pieces. With 2.34 billion photos, the total number of images processed in the factories was also slightly below the level of the previous year at (2.40 billion photos)
“Particularly in these pandemic times, the loyalty of our customers and the outstanding work performed by our staff are of inestimable value”, said Cewe CEO Dr. Christian Friege. “Customers made very conscious decisions in favour of our top-class photo products, even during the stay-at-home phase caused by the pandemic. We really are proud of how superbly the Cewe team collaborated to get attractive photo gifts ready for our customers, especially during this somewhat different Christmas season.”