Duplo Spends

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, February 19, 2021

North Yorkshire County Council’s County Print Unit has invested in a 600i Booklet System with twin towers from Duplo to increase its capacity and reliability.

The 600i Booklet System was installed earlier this month
The 600i Booklet System was installed earlier this month
The kit was installed earlier this month at the operation’s premises, which are situated within County Hall in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

It has replaced an existing Duplo booklet line that was part-exchanged as the council needed something that could better handle 80pp booklets and thicker substrates.

John Metcalfe, head of the 10-staff County Print Unit, told Printweek: “We’ve had Duplo machines for a number of years and we’re very happy with them, and staying with them also gives us continuity.

“The new machine lets us stitch and trim the full 80 pages at a thicker substrate, and it’s also increased our speeds. We were previously doing one job at a rate of 600 booklets per hour, and that’s now up to about 1,700 per hour – it’s almost tripled the speed.

“We can also now do A4 landscape jobs, which is something we’ve not been able to do before.”

Metcalfe also liked the new “more intuitive” touchscreen, which enables the council to save programme settings and easily identify any jams.

The 600i Booklet System has joined a five-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster 52 and a single-colour Heidelberg GTO with numbering and perfing.

The County Print Unit also operates a Xerox Versant 180 digital printer, an HP wide-format printer, a Stahl folder, a Polar guillotine and a Neopost envelope inserter, as it also does its own mailing.

“We work for the NHS and local district councils, and do a little bit for registered charities,” said Metcalfe.

“We do Hambleton District Council’s council tax and inserts, we’ve got a contract to do the printing for Richmondshire District Council, and we also do quite a lot for Selby District Council.”


Moonpig Increase

Moonpig sales set to double
Jo Francis
Thursday, February 18, 2021

Moonpig has reported its strongest-ever trading week in the run-up to Valentine’s Day, but has also found itself incurring the wrath of customers again after some of those orders failed to live up to expectations.

Quality issues affected a “small number” of Valentine’s Day orders
Quality issues affected a “small number” of Valentine’s Day orders
In its first trading up since its £1.2bn flotation at the beginning of the month, the online cards and gifting giant said that the increase in demand it experienced in H1 had continued into Q3.

“Last week we saw the strongest-ever trading week in the group’s history ahead of Valentine’s Day,” Moonpig stated.

“Purchase frequency remains unusually elevated due to Covid-19 related restrictions, and we are now also seeing a temporary increase in average order values, as more customers attach gifts to their orders.”

Sales for the full year are expected to be “approximately double” the prior year’s figure of £173m, with similar underlying profit margins.

However, the group’s operations have been impacted by strict lockdown measures in Guernsey, which came into force on 23 January and could be partially lifted today (18 February), although this had not been confirmed at the time of writing.

A Moonpig spokesperson told Printweek that it was only allowed a maximum of two people at its Guernsey print site at present because of the restrictions, which had reduced its card production capacity.

“Our first and foremost priority is the health and safety of our employees and customers, so throughout the pandemic we’ve been following the State of Guernsey government guidance closely, taking every precaution and care that we can as a company to protect our teams and communities while working really hard to deliver for our customers.”

Following the crucial Valentine’s Day peak period unhappy customers took to social media to complain about dead or poor quality flowers, missing cards, and card mix-ups.

One of the complainants was Eight Days a Week Print Solutions managing director Lance Hill, who was among numerous customers to complain that the roses supplied had died within a day.

Moonpig responded: “While the issues affected a small number of the overall volume of orders, we take every single complaint seriously and work as quickly as possible to put things right. We engaged directly with these customers, as we know that these orders and the loved ones they are destined for are extremely important.”

Moonpig’s share price fell sharply yesterday, from a 52-week high of 456.2p to 434.4p, but had risen to 444p in early trading today.


Heidelberg Shares

Heidelberg reports ‘faster progress’ as shares spike
Jo Francis
Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Heidelberg’s share price jumped by 25% after it reported a recovery in demand in China and Europe and upgraded its operating profit forecasts for the full year.

Heidelberg is doubling Wallbox production
Heidelberg is doubling Wallbox production
In its Q3 and nine-month report, Heidelberg said that despite expecting an overall fall in sales year-on-year of as much as €500m (£438m), it was anticipating EBITDA margins prior to restructuring costs of around 7% (prior year: 4.3%).

Sales in the group jumped by 25.3% to a 52-week high of €1.50 following the news.

While Heidelberg admitted that the recent non-completion of its sale of Gallus Group was “clouding the positive picture”, CFO Marcus Wassenberg stated: “All in all, we have made much faster and more successful progress with our company’s transformation than previously reported… We are therefore confident we will return to attractive profitability in the medium term.”

The manufacturer has implemented a major reorganisation programme since last March, including culling unprofitable product lines – notably the B1 Primefire sheetfed inkjet press and its VLF sheetfed presses – and cutting around 1,600 job cuts worldwide.

The moves will reduce costs by more than €170m a year.

Heidelberg said that Q3 trading showed “further signs of recovery”, and noted that in December “incoming orders were back above the previous year’s figure for the first time in this financial year”.

For the first nine months of the 2020/21 financial year covering 1 April to 31 December, sales were down 24% at €1.29bn, while incoming orders were down 25% at €1.9bn. The shortfall in orders reduced to 12% in Q3.

EBITDA excluding restructuring costs of €38m was €88m for the period, with a small net profit of €3m compared with the prior year’s €10m loss for the period.

Heidelberg still expects to post a loss for the full year, albeit reduced on 2019/20 when restructuring costs of €275m propelled the group to a massive €343m bottom line net loss.

Last month Heidelberg announced that it would double the production capacity of Wallbox manufacturing by April, and has fired up a second production line for the products at its Wiesloch-Walldorf site.

The latest model, the Heidelberg Wallbox Home Eco Europe, is suitable for use in most European countries including the UK.