Bobst Group has posted consolidated sales of SFr815m ($947m) in the first half (H1) of 2023, up by 5.4% from SFr773m in H1 2022.

This includes net sales of SFr498.9m in the company’s Printing & Converting business unit and SFr315.7m in its Services & Performance unit.

The company said this increase in consolidated sales during the first six months of the year, which ended on 30 June 2023, can be attributed to the high machine backlog at the start of the year.

Higher sales were also driven by no restrictions on travel and the absence of Covid-19-induced lockdowns.

All these factors helped the company to install more machines and conduct more service interventions in the first six months of the current financial year.

The Switzerland-based machines and services provider also benefitted from the acquisition of Italian company Dücker Robotics. That strategic deal was completed in May this year.

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Bobst’s operating result or earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) totalled SFr46.8m. This represents an increase of 18.2% from the EBIT of SFr28.6m during the same period in 2022.

This increase in EBIT was due to improved margins, higher sales, and enhanced cost absorption, resulting from a less negative impact on the company’s overall operational performance.  

The net result during the reported period reached SFr41.3m versus SFr21.6m a year ago. This increase was due to higher EBIT recorded in H1 this year.

The company said it recorded a decline of 22% in its order entries in H1 this year while its order backlog decreased by 5% compared with H1 2022.

The company’s net debt at the end of H1 this year was SFr218.2m.

Bobst is now expecting ‘a good second half of the year’, mainly due to its service activities and high backlog.

However, the company emphasised that its scheduled order for production and installation of machines during the second half of 2023 continues to remain a ‘big challenge’ that requires certain improvements in terms of materials and the parts supply chain.

The company is estimating this year’s net sales to be similar to that of full-year 2022, which amounted to SFr1.8bn, with a comparatively lower EBIT margin than 2022.