Walstead Group announces 2022 financial results

28 SEPTEMBER 2023, LONDON: Walstead, Europe’s largest commercial printing company, announces its audited results for the 12-month period to 31 December 2022.

Gross revenue increased by 19% to €648.9 million (2021: €546.4 million). Net revenue increased by 11% to €391.7 million (2021: €352.9 million). Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation, and exceptional charges) remained static at €42.0 million (2021: €42.0 million) as did operating profit (adjusted) at €17.2 million (2021: €17.2 million). Profit after tax (adjusted) was €1.5 million (2021: €7.9 million).

Net debt at 31 December 2022 decreased by 5% to €114.1 million (31 December 2021: €120.3 million) and comprised €36.0 million of external net debt (31 December 2021: €35.5 million) and €78.1 million of loans from shareholders which we regard as quasi-equity (31 December 2021: €84.8 million). At the year-end our external net debt leverage ratio remained healthy at 0.9x (2021: 0.8x). Availability at the year-end was €82.0 million.

Capital expenditure in the year was €29.9 million (2021: €21.9 million) which was significantly higher than prior years, mainly because of the €12 million spent on purchasing YM Group’s printing equipment.

The average number of employees during the year was 3,232 (2021: 3,276).

Mark Scanlon, chairman of Walstead, commented: “Overall, we delivered a good result in 2022 in an extremely challenging business environment. Walstead once again proved itself to be resilient in the face of the sternest stress tests following on from the very difficult COVID years and the continuation of the previous year’s escalating gas and electricity costs which were exacerbated by the Ukraine crisis. We were exposed to huge and volatile market increases for these supplies but were fortunate to have loyal and understanding customers who accepted additional charges to enable us to partially recover the array of significant price increases we incurred on our raw materials.

The shortage of paper in the first half of 2022, due in part to the strike at UPM’s Finnish paper mills, accompanied by a doubling of paper prices, forced many print buyers to reassess their 2022 volumes as part of their overall marketing spend. As paper prices increased, volumes decreased, and buyers sought alternate ways of reaching their target audience. By the end of the year paper prices had dropped because of a combination of lower energy costs and lower capacity utilisation at the paper mills. There is, of course, the positive prospect that print marketing budgets will revert to previous levels, but in the meantime, Walstead has cut its cloth, and we will reconcile our customers’ demand with appropriate manufacturing capacity that delivers sustainable margin and profit.”