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Heidelberg Drives Digital Transformation – 20 Contracts Already Signed for New Subscription Model

Zoltán Tűndik

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Photo source: Sandrunrisk.com
Reading Time: 4 minutes
  • Incoming orders up 6 percent to €1,306 million in first half-year
  • Group sales also improve by 6 percent to €1,114 million
  • Operating result (EBITDA) increases from €60 million to €62 million
  • Still on course to achieve targets for financial year 2018/2019 as a whole

Six months into financial year 2018/2019, the launch of the new subscription model has led to further growth in incoming orders and the order backlog at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg). No fewer than 20 subscription contracts covering the entire press life cycle – including service, software, and consumables – have been signed to date and demand for new machines remains healthy. As a result, incoming orders for the half-year have climbed by around 6 percent, from €1,234 million to €1,306 million. This figure would have been higher still had it not been for negative exchange rate movements amounting to €17 million. The order backlog improved by an impressive 23 percent, from €627 million to €774 million. Sales of up to €100 million, in particular for services and consumables, are expected over the standard five-year term of the subscription contracts already signed, which represent an annual sheet volume in the order of 1 billion pages.

“The subscription model offers huge potential. It’s transforming the market and also our company. We’re continuing to drive the digital transformation at Heidelberg,” commented Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer.

The implementation of the corporate strategy towards digitization is progressing. Printers in Europe, the US and China are already producing with high quality and productivity for their customers with the new Primefire digital printing system. With the newly founded Heidelberg Digital Unit, the e-commerce business will be rapidly expanded. As part of a digital roadmap, IT will also focus even more on efficient processes and the challenges of digital business models.

Half-year operating profit improves to €62 million

Despite negative exchange rate movements totaling €15 million, Heidelberg increased its net sales by 6 percent to €1,114 million (H1 2017/2018: €1,054 million) in the reporting period. EBITDA excluding restructuring result for the half-year climbed from €60 million to €62 million, which meant the EBITDA margin remained the same at 5.6 percent. EBIT excluding restructuring result matched the previous year’s solid level of €27 million despite additional staff costs resulting from the new collective bargaining agreement. Planned restructuring measures to improve efficiency generated higher restructuring expenses of €5 million (H1 2017/2018: €1 million). Furthermore, as already communicated, the partial repayment of €55 million of the existing high-yield bond, which was completed in mid-July, resulted in non-recurring transaction and early redemption charges. Consequently, the financial result after six months worsened from €-24 million to €-28 million, but will benefit significantly from lower interest payments in the future. The net result after taxes (including income taxes) thus fell as expected, from break-even to €-6 million.

This meant the operating cash flow of €27 million did not quite match the previous year’s level of €35 million. An increase in inventories due to the growing order backlog and the start-up of digital operations as well as investments in the construction of the innovation center at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site were among the factors influencing the free cash flow in the reporting period (€-86 million compared with €-32 million in the previous year). At €373 million, equity was substantially up on the level as at March 31, 2018 (€341 million), and the equity ratio improved accordingly, from 15 to 17 percent. Despite seasonal factors resulting in a higher net financial debt of €320 million (previous year: €259 million), the leverage of 1.8 as at September 30, 2018 was once again well below the target level of 2.

“As demonstrated in October with the acquisition of MBO, we’re investing in the company’s digital transformation. This highlights our strategic focus on consistently aligning our portfolio and new business models with the growth segments of digital and packaging,” said Heidelberg CFO Dirk Kaliebe.

Forecast for financial year as a whole unchanged – moderate growth in net sales and net profit after taxes expected

Given the solid progress in the first six months, Heidelberg can confirm the targets for financial year 2018/2019 as a whole. A moderate increase in sales and ongoing efficiency improvements should mean that, despite higher collectively agreed wages, the EBITDA margin excluding restructuring result will lie between 7 and 7.5 percent. Taking into account anticipated restructuring costs in the order of €20 million, non-recurring expenses from the partial repayment of the corporate bond, and rising tax costs at foreign subsidiaries, a moderate increase in the net result after taxes is forecast compared with the previous year (including a non-recurring tax effect in financial year 2017/2018).

Subscription model significantly increases order backlog – growing impact on net sales and result in years to come

It is expected that 30 contracts for the new subscription model will be concluded during financial year 2018/2019 as a whole, which will mean a further increase in the order backlog. Given the continued high level of interest from international customers, the number of contracts is set to climb to around 100 in the coming financial year. The new business model will only make a relatively small contribution to sales and the result at the start, but this will grow substantially in the medium term.

Image material, the interim report for the first half of financial year 2018/2019, and additional information about the company are available in the Press Lounge of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG at http://www.heidelberg.com.

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Automotive

Sono Motors to Produce Sion in Sweden

Betty Tűndik

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Sion - The first Solar Electric Vehicle. A car charging itself. - Photo Source: sonomotors.com
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

The first series production solar electric vehicle (SEV) developed by the German mobility provider Sono Motors is to be manufactured in Sweden. As Sono Motors officially announced today, the first generation of the Sion will be produced in Trollhättan by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS). The plant located there was home to the production lines of the long-standing and innovative automobile manufacturer SAAB. In total, an initial 260,000 vehicles will roll off the production line in Trollhättan over an eight-year period. Production will commence in the second half of 2020. After the ramp-up period, approximately 43,000 Sion a year will be manufactured in two-shift operations. Production will be carried out using one hundred percent renewable energy.

“In NEVS, we found the perfect partner for us,” says Thomas Hausch, Chief Operating Officer, Sono Motors. “Together, we share a vision of intelligent and resource-conserving mobility. We also value our partner’s specific expertise based on their many years of experience in traditional automobile development and production in combination with proven expertise in the area of electromobility.”

The innovative vehicle concept of the Sion already represents tomorrow’s mobility today – the aim of which needs to be the reduction of vehicles on the roads through more sustainable and more efficient usage. The Sion will therefore be equipped ex works with integrated sharing options. These enable the owner to share the vehicle itself, individual journeys, or even energy via a mobile application (goSono app), developed by Sono Motors. A bidirectional charging function enables the Sion to both receive and supply electricity, power electrical devices independently, and feed energy to other vehicles or into the electricity grid. Thanks to full-surface solar integration, the vehicle battery can be charged with pure and free solar energy worth up to 34 kilometers’ range per day in addition to its regular WLTP range of 255 kilometers.

For its market launch, the Sion will be rolled out in one single variant version costing 25,500 euros. There are plans afoot to develop other vehicle models based on the vehicle’s platform.

Since the presentation of the prototypes in summer 2017, the Sono Motors team has been going on test drive road shows all over Europe. On the occasion of the cooperation with NEVS, the next road show will take place in Sweden. Sono Motors has so far taken approximately 9,800 partially paid preorders for the Sion.

 

SOURCE Sono Motors GmbH

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Awards

New Research Identifies the Technology That Hotel Guests Really Want

Betty Tűndik

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Criton developed app for Cheval Residences
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Research conducted by leading travel technology firm Criton reveals the importance of hotel technology to improve the experience of today’s travellers

Dependence on mobile phones when travelling is brought into sharp focus by a survey of more than 3,600 travellers which reveals a growing appreciation for bespoke travel apps. Research commissioned by Edinburgh-based hospitality firm Criton, highlights that loyalty programmes, self-check-in/out and accessing your hotel room via a digital door key are primary requirements of today’s guests.

Julie Grieve, Founder and CEO of Criton

 

 The findings highlight crucial information for all hoteliers, with guests’ smartphones now recognised as an essential tool for delivering and improving their travel experience. With 45% of respondents travelling for leisure more than four times a year, findings showed that 62% of respondents regularly use an accommodation app, with the figure increasing to 67% amongst business travellers.

If their favourite hotel was to have its own app, 74% of respondents overwhelmingly stated they would use this digital channel, with only 10% favouring an in-room device such as a hotel’s smartphone or tablet. This reinforces Criton’s core belief that the future of hotel technology is own device. Hoteliers no longer need to absorb the cost of installing in-room devices when their guests travel with their own smartphone and are more comfortable with the apps and content within it.

The opportunity to check-in via an app and access their hotel room via a digital door key was warmly received with 58% likely or very likely to want this technology. With 68% finding it unacceptable to queue at reception for longer than five minutes, offering guests access to a service which global chains already offer is fast becoming a core priority for independent operators.

Respondents prioritised loyalty programmes as their favoured element of hotel technology with 53% recognising it as their top requirement. In a competitive landscape, the opportunity to drive direct and repeat bookings through a personalised loyalty programme will ensure hoteliers save on OTA commission while creating their own closed marketing group to upsell onsite services and facilities.

Underlining modern travellers’ awareness of technology, the survey found an audience ready to talk about tech use and expectations while travelling. Reflecting on the results of the survey, Julie Grieve, founder and CEO of Criton, which developed the UK’s first intuitive app builder for the hospitality sector, said:

“Increasingly, today’s travellers are downloading apps that help them get around and stay connected with their hotel. That level of tech awareness or even dependency also raises expectations for information, guest services, such as check-in, digital key and offers and incentives to reward their loyalty.

“Respondents to the survey were people who travel regularly, with the majority opting for a mid-range hotel or accommodation. It is increasingly clear that adopting technology has to be seen as an imperative for all hospitality providers; it is not something purely for the major franchises.”

Criton lets independent operators compete with big chain technology through an easy to use platform. From digitising the traditional hotel room guest book to PMS, live chat, digital door key and in-room ordering integrations all contained within a fully-branded hotel app; Criton supports hospitality businesses with their digital transformation strategies and work with clients across the UK and overseas.

Research Methodology:

An online survey ran from Tuesday 26th March until Monday 1st April and received a total of 3,654 responses, of whom 1,311 were classed as business travellers.

Key Findings:

  • 45% of travellers stated they travel for leisure 2-3 times a year
  • 36% travel for business
  • 39% use TripAdvisor as main source of research and inspiration before booking a hotel, followed by 29% of respondents relying on online search
  • 40% of travellers said they regularly stay in a 4-star (boutique) hotel, with 6% in a 5-star (luxury) hotel. The majority (47%) stated they regularly stay in a 3-star (mid-range) hotel
  • 53% have at least one hotel app on their phone
  • 74% would use a hotel app if their favourite hotel had one
  • 55% stated it is acceptable to wait at check-in 2-5 minutes
  • 62% would be likely or very likely to check-in to a hotel via an app
  • 58% would be likely or very likely to check-in to a hotel via an app and use digital key

App usage

  • 62% use an accommodation app regularly (eg Airbnb)
  • 57% use a transport app regularly
  • 47% use an airline app regularly
  • 36% uses a hotel app regularly

The hotel technology that respondents seek:

  • 53% – loyalty programmes
  • 35% – self check-in
  • 10% – in-room mobile
  • 18% – in-room tablet

Awards:

  • Criton won the ‘Best Technology Provider’ award at the 2018 Travolution Awards and was Highly Commended for Best Use of Mobile
  • Criton won the ‘Industry Breakthrough and Innovation Award’ at the ASAP Awards 2018
  • Julie Grieve, Founder & CEO won the prestigious ‘HOSPACE 2017 Best Entrepreneur Award’

 

SOURCE: Criton

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Computer Electronics

Defining the essence of future, DIGIX HUAWEI Global Smartphone Theme Design Competition Officially Launched

Betty Tűndik

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HUAWEI_THEME_1
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

DIGIX HUAWEI Global Smartphone Theme Design Competition was formally launched on April 11th, inviting exceptional designers and art enthusiasts from all over the globe to send in their thematic interface designs, including illustrations, animations, and 3D graphics. With the theme of ‘Hello, New Art’, this competition aims to create a fusion of art and technology, sharing the cutting-edge design and aesthetic trends with global users.

Global Authoritative judges facilitate to forge an international professional design arena

An impressive panel of judges has been appointed including Xiaokang Liu(KL&K Creative Strategics Founder), Jun Fei (Professor of School of Design, Central Academy of Fine Arts), Bai Cha (One of China’s Most Popular Cartoonists), María José Pérez-Luque (Head of the Multimedia and Graphic Design program, ESNE, Madrid), Alejandro Magallenes (Member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale), Jun Liang (Huawei UCD Chief User Experience Design Director), Alexandre Plicque Gurlitt (Senior Visual Designer, Paris Aesthetic Research Center), and other prominent design masters so as to forge the most influential design arena in the mobile phone industry.

Special guest designers to create conceptual works, interpreting the essence of new art 

For the warming-up of this competition, an influential panel of design masters had been invited to create a set of stylish and imaginative masterpieces, showing audiences the new definition of art. The panel list is as follow:

Ye Luying, illustrator named in the Forbes Under 30 Asia List
Wu Sijun, young artist
LOST7, popular illustrator
Paulo Villagrán, One of Mexico’s Most Prominent Illustrators
Wang Yunfei, popular illustrator
FIREYE, popular illustrator

Free to show your strengths in four major categories

This year’s Global Theme Design competition is divided into four separate categories, including illustrations, animations, 2D graphics, and 3D graphics. Designers can choose to submit work into any category to compete for the prize and demonstrate their uniqueness in the specific art field.

In this world-class design competition, designers from all over the world will compete on the same stage and interpret new art with extraordinary creativity. Art design will be revitalized by those talented designers in the process of exploring the futuristic aesthetics.

Generous rewards to your design talent

Eight major awards were set up for 134 winners, with a total prize of more than $330,000 US dollars, and will include the Global Winner Grand Prize, Stars of Tomorrow Award, Most Popular Award etc. In addition to cash rewards, as part of the designer support program, a special Creative Fund is established to incentivize the art work creation and guarantee artists the corresponding income. At the same time, this competition will be launched in more than 170 countries and regions. All entries are able to receive exposure from billions through online and offline channels worldwide, bringing an  extraordinary experience to hundreds of millions of Huawei smartphone users.

Easy to create themes by employing Huawei Themes Development Tool 9.0

In line with this competition, Huawei officially launched the Theme Development Tool 9.0. The newly upgraded theme development tool supports theme visualization editing, multi-effect online preview, and materials one-click packaging, enabling designers to get rid of complex lock screen script development etc., generating a designer friendly environment and leaving more time for the creation.

Event information not to be missed: Your participation will affect the future of smartphone theme design aesthetics

The theme is one of the key artistic measure of smartphones and the theme designer is the master of making the fusion of art and technology possible. And hundreds of millions of users will be influenced by every detail of the theme design.

A great number of designers from all over the world will participate this competition enthusiastically!

For more information, please visit the official website: https://themes.cloud.huawei.com/contest/index.html or open the Huawei Themes application to enter the competition registration page and sign up to participate!

 

SOURCE: Huawei

 

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