One of my sons recently sent me a link to this highly encouraging piece: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/02/06/171297312/oh-poop-animal-shelter-may-still-need-more-newspapers
While snowstorm Nemo covered New England under a couple of feet of snow, the Heidelberg shareholder presentation made for interesting reading.
With statements like "We are in a privileged position" and "Not too much price pressure from the customer, performance still counts in many segments", it seems the good times are back and the recent rise in the share price seems to confirm that the mood among investors is improving again.
As I pointed out before, Heidelberg and KBA appear to be the winners in terms of market share in the recent past.
Asia/Pacific is now 33% of the action for HD and - not surprisingly - around 70% for Komori.
Europe is now 19% for Komori and - again not surprisingly - almost 48% (including Eastern Europe) for HD.
North-America where Komori historically commanded a strong #2 position is interesting. It is notable that Komori forecasts a mere $68 million in sales for the fiscal year ending in March '13 with actual equipment sales for the first three quarters adding up to only $33 million. (New orders were even lower.)
North America now represents only 7.8% of Komori's actual orders for the last three quarters, vs HD's 13.6% (about 300mE or $390 million), so Komori is all but off the radar screen.
What could explain the lack of interest in Japanese made presses in the US market?
A look at this five year currency chart (courtesy of oanda.com) may answer the question.
The graph shows the dramatic drop of the Euro against the Japanese Yen in 2008 and continuing over the next four years. Given this roughly "30 % disadvantage" Komori's performance in Europe is actually quite impressive and is probably an indication of the company's effective cost management. (In addition, the company's recent appointment of Baumann as its German distributor can be seen as a sign that Komori is not going to roll over.) It also means that European products sold in the US became a lot cheaper than Japanese products since 2008.
Note though the reversal of the trend in late 2012 as Japan joined Europe and the US in the global money printing competition.
It is nice to see the optimism in Heidelberg's report, but the favorable currency tailwinds may turn soon.
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