Heidelberg, the world's largest maker of printing presses, expects its full-year loss could triple compared with fiscal 2008/09 as underutilised print shops remain unwilling to invest in new machines.
For the subsequent quarters in the 2009/10 financial year, the Heidelberg management board expects no significant increase in incoming orders and sales over the previous quarters, which means that the results will likely fall short of the company's expectations, it said in a statement after the close of markets on Friday.
Consequently its loss before interest and tax for the year to end-March would likely amount to between 110 million-150 million euros ($162 million-$221 million), according to Heidelberg.
The results are likely to add pressure on Heidelberg to reach a merger deal with world number 2 and domestic rival manroland MANR.UL.
Sources had told Reuters that the two, which both count German insurer Allianz as their biggest shareholder, hoped to decide by mid-October whether to proceed with formal merger talks.
Last year, Heidelberg posted an operating loss of 49 million euros, excluding one-off charges of 179 million related to a restructuring plan.
FOUR WEAK QUARTERS IN A ROW
A spokesman for the company said the operating loss forecast for this year was an unadjusted figure, before any possible items, although he added the costs for the ongoing restructuring were booked as provisions and packed into last year's result.
Previously, Heidelberg had said that full-year revenue would drop and forecast a fiscal net loss due in part to financing costs that do not affect the operating line.
These costs could grow to as much as 150 million euros versus 120 million in fiscal 2008/09 due to a new financing structure that includes over 800 million in costly state loans and guarantees, finance chief Dirk Kaliebe said in August.
Preliminary second-quarter incoming orders came out to 530 million euros, even worse than the previous one and the fourth in a row that has been below 600 million.
This is down from a normalised average quarterly level that has swung between 800-900 million roughly in recent years.
Heidelberg expects revenue in the second quarter of 500 million euros.
(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner, editing by Dave Zimmerman)