CEWE boosts first-quarter earnings

CEWE Stiftung & Co. KGaA started 2021 with significantly better earnings, as shown by the first three months, driven again positive earnings in the core photofinishing business segment. With  robust at 9.0%, photofinishing sales increased to 125.0 million euros (Q1 2020: 114.7 million euros), thus compensating for declines caused by the lockdown in the business segments of Retailing and Commercial Online Printing. Group turnover, at 145.9 million euros, thus fell just short in a total of that of the same quarter of the previous year (Q1 2020: 146.4 million euros). Group EBIT in the first quarter rose to 8.6 million euros (Q1 2020: 2.0 million euros) – an increase of 6.6 million euros.

Dr. Christian Friege

“We are delighted that we are able to bring great joy to more and more people with our photo products,” says Dr. Christian Friege, CEWE Stiftung & Co. KGaA CEO. “In doing so, our core business segment of photofinishing enables CEWE to get through these pandemic times with a generally steady growth in earnings. Our focus on our customers, our innovative capacity and our strong online business in cooperation with our retail partners constitute the key to this success.”

Photofinishing develops strongly in the first quarter

The important photofinishing performance indicators are all developing positively: the number of photos as well as the value per photo contributed to a 9% rise in sales, to 125.0 million euros. The number of photos sold increased by 2.4% to 520.1 million photos (Q1 2020: 508.1 million photos) and turnover per photo increased by 6.5% to reach 24.03 eurocents (Q1 2020: 22.57 eurocents). The outstanding increase in Group EBIT is hence almost completely based on the contribution to earnings made by the core business segment of photofinishing, which raised its EBIT by 6.5 million euros to 9.8 million euros against that of the same quarter of the previous year (Q1 2020: 3.3 million euros), with the CEWE PHOTOBOOK, wall art, photo calendars and also many other photo gifts increasing sales – in some cases by high double-digit growth rates. In this case the pandemic-related stay-at-home effect with its increased demand for online products continued to back up the trend.

Commercial Online Printing stabilises earnings

As positive as the development of photofinishing in the first quarter may have been, the lockdown nevertheless continues to hit Commercial Online Printing particularly hard. Customer groups most severely affected by the pandemic, such as the event sector, retailing or the catering industry are themselves hardly ordering any printed advertising material nowadays. Given this environment, sales in the Commercial Online Printing business division were down by 43.2%, to 12.8 million euros in the first quarter (Q1 2020: 22.6 million euros). At the same time, it must be taken into account that in the same quarter of the previous year, the consequences of the coronavirus crisis, with strong declines in sales, only made themselves felt as of mid-March. Commercial Online Printing had still increased with a low, single-digit growth rate up to this point in time in the previous year. Thanks to a strict system of cost management and a generally optimised production and cost structure, EBIT for the business division, at -0.6 million euros, remained at the same level as in the previous year, in spite of a strong decline in sales (Q1 2020: -0.6 million euros).

CEWE Retailing improves earnings slightly

Sales in retailing are declining according to schedule anyway due to the focus on photofinishing business (reported on in the business segment) and due to a conscious foregoing of the low-margin hardware business. Lockdown restrictions for retailing also had an impact, with turnover in the business division declining by 16.8% to 6.3 million euros in the first quarter (Q1 2020: 7.5 million euros). The positive effects of a rigorous system of cost management and growing e-commerce business are however also apparent here: at -0.4 million euros, the division was even slightly better in the first quarter than in the same period of the previous year (Q1 2020: -0.5 million euros).

Outlook for 2021 confirmed

The CEWE management sees itself confirmed in its declared aim by the results returned for the first quarter, and is adhering to its outlook for 2021: Group turnover is to reach a figure in the range of 710 to 770 million euros. Group EBIT is expected to be in a corridor of 72 to 84 million euros in 2021, EBT is to be in the range of 70 to 82 million euros, and after-tax earnings are to amount to between 48 and 56 million euros. For a few years now, the first-quarter share of earnings in annual net income has been increasing steadily, with the trend for the second and third quarters moving towards decreasing shares in earnings. The fourth quarter of any given year is by far the most important thanks to Christmas business, and is also seeing its share of earnings increasing from year to year. Targets for the 2021 financial year constitute ranges that are more or less expected, with the range at the same time reflecting the uncertainty currently caused by the general coronavirus situation and its potential effects on the development of business at CEWE.

CEWE recognized as a Best Managed Company

CEWE distinguished as “Best Managed Company” for the second time in succession

CEWE was given by the distinction as a “Best Managed Company” by Deloitte, Wirtschaftswoche, Credit Suisse and BDI. After being distinguished in 2020, CEWE has now received this award for the second time in succession. “This new distinction is at the same time approval and motivation for all our staff members,” says Friege. “We are delighted to have received this award and see ourselves confirmed in having our sights set firmly on the right priorities when it comes to continued development for CEWE. The international provider of Institutional Shareholder Services, ISS, also rated and distinguished CEWE with an “Environmental Quality Score of 1” for the company’s highly sustainable corporate philosophy.

First quarter 2021 results

CEWE business segments Unit Q1 2020 Q1 2021 Diff. % Diff. abs.
(1) Photofinishing
Photos m. photos 508.1 520.1 2.4 12.0
CEWE PHOTOBOOK in ths. units 1,363 1,333 -2.2 -30
Turnover EUR m. 114.7 125.0 9.0 10.3
EBIT EUR m. 3.3 9.8 199 6.5
Purchase price allocation effects EUR m. -1.1 -1.0
EBIT before special effects EUR m. 4.4 10.8 147 6.4
(2) Retailing
Turnover EUR m. 7.5 6.3 -16.8 -1.3
EBIT EUR m. -0.5 -0.4 11.2
(3) Commercial Online Printing
Turnover EUR m. 22.6 12.8 -43.2 -9.8
EBIT EUR m. -0.6 -0.6 -2.2
Purchase price allocation effects EUR m. -0.1 -0.1
EBIT before special effects EUR m. -0.5 -0.6 -6.4
(3) Other
Turnover EUR m. 1.6 1.8 11.7 0.2
EBIT EUR m. -0.2 -0.1 6.3
CEWE Group Unit Q1 2020 Q1 2021 Diff. % Diff. abs.
Turnover EUR m. 146.4 145.9 -0.4 -0.5
EBIT EUR m. 2.0 8.6 329 6.6
Total special effects EUR m. -1.2 -1.1
EBIT before special effects EUR m. 3.2 9.7 203 6.5
EBT EUR m. 1.7 8.3 373 6.5


Rounding differences may occur. Deviations have all been calculated at the exact values.


Notes to the “Earnings by Business Segment” chart

(1) Photofinishing: Production and sale of photo products such as the CEWE PHOTO BOOK, calendars, greeting cards, wall art and individual (analogue and digital) photos as well as other photo products
(2) Retailing: Trading in photo hardware, such as cameras and lenses, in Norway, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia
(3) Commercial online printing: Production and sale of commercial print products in the online printing portals of SAXOPRINT, viaprinto and LASERLINE