CEWE reports improved earnings on level sales

European photo printing powerhouse CEWE Stiftung & Co. KGaA concluded its 2021 financial year with another strong result according to preliminary as yet uncertified figures. The company said it had operative earnings (EBIT) of 72.2 million euros, a level within the range of 72 to 84 million euros planned for 2021 (2020 EBIT: 79.7 million euros). Turnover amounts to 692.8 million euros (2020: 727.3 million euros). In 2020, the fact customers had to stay at home due to the coronavirus, particularly during the Christmas season, had a greater impact on demand for photo products than in the financial year just concluded, the company said. The EBIT for 2021 increased by around 27% over that of the pre-coronavirus year of 2019 (EBIT in 2019: 56.8 million euros). After 12.4% in 2019 (as well as a temporary exceptionally high coronavirus-related margin of 15.1% in 2020), the trend of a steadily improving operative earnings margin in the core business segment of photofinishing, ongoing for many years, continued positively to reach 12.7% in 2021.

Dr. Christian Friege

“Every year, the entire CEWE Group team puts a huge amount of commitment into delighting our customers with CEWE photo products, particularly at Christmas time. This is, of course, an outstanding achievement,” emphasizes Dr. Christian Friege, Chairman of the CEWE Stiftung & Co. KGaA Board of Management.

A strong Christmas business remained a reliable constant for CEWE in the financial year of 2021, with Q4 2021, at turnover in the amount of 297.8 million euros (Q4 2020: 314.0 million euros) and EBIT at 72.1 million euros, once again generating around 100% of the annual net income (EBIT Q4 2020: 80.3 million euros). Compared with the fourth quarter of the pre-coronavirus year of 2019, this is a clear increase of around 23% (EBIT for Q4 2019: 58.8 million euros). This saw CEWE continuing to benefit considerably from its early transformation to a digital business model: not only does the general trend towards taking photos with a mobile phone back up the trend in CEWE demand; the majority of photo orders nowadays are placed online or from mobile apps. In addition to the points of sale, retail partners supplied by CEWE throughout the whole of Europe are the main beneficiaries in this case, since customers can buy CEWE brand-name products from them.

New photo products enhance Christmas business

In good time for Christmas festivities in 2021, CEWE once again presented many photo gift innovations such as new wooden frames and laminations, premium posters and calendars in many stylish designs, as well as its new “nature prints” – high-quality photos on recycled paper. At the same time, customers have never placed mobile orders for so many products with the CEWE photoworld app – a new record high in orders placed via smartphone or tablet.

“At CEWE, our entire team is constantly working on new ideas and new products. This innovative spirit motivates us and is one of the reasons for our long-term successful development,” Friege points out.

Sales of the CEWE PHOTOBOOK, at 5.65 million books (2020: 6.52 million books), and the total number of prints across all the products, at 2.18 billion prints (2020: 2.34 billion prints), fell slightly short of those of the previous year in the whole year of 2021. More than anything else, a coronavirus-related change in attitudes towards taking photos (also due to less frequent holiday travels) resulted among many consumers in fewer photos being taken in 2021 and hence to fewer photos being available for photo products.

Commercial Online-Print and Retail achieve turnaround

Preliminary calculations show that the business segment of commercial online printing as well as that of retailing have achieved a turnaround and concluded the 2021 financial year with slightly positive earnings. An optimized production and cost structure ensured that commercial online printing was able to overcome the negative earnings situation (resulting from declines in demand due to the coronavirus) of the previous year (EBIT Commercial Online-Print 2020: -3.7 million euros). Retailing saw success being achieved through optimization of the branch structure and a reduction in the number of stores. In 2020 this reduction had still resulted in restructuring costs (EBIT Retail 2020: -4.2 million euros).

Strong: stable trend in difficult times for the economy in general

A high level of customer satisfaction, a strong performance in the 2021 financial year, and traditionally very stable stock of available capital all highlight the fact CEWE – in spite of a coronavirus-related persistently difficult economic situation overall – is maintaining its extremely sound position.

“It is important to be able to rely on a sound, sustainable foundation, particularly in trying times for the economy as a whole. Our forward-looking mode of operation allows us to continue to develop our business, even in pandemic times,” Friege explains.

Full year 2021 in comparison with the previous year and targets (preliminary figures)

CEWE Group Unit 2020 actual 2021 target 2021 actual
Photos bn. photos 2.339 2.3 to 2.4 2.182
CEWE PHOTOBOOK m. books 6.52 6.4 to 6.7 5.65
Turnover EUR m. 727.3 710 to 770 692.8
EBIT EUR m. 79.7 72 to 84 72.2


Q4 2021 (preliminary figures)

CEWE Group Unit Q4 2020 Q4 2021 Diff. % Diff. abs.
Photos bn. photos 0.891 0.832 -6.5% 0.059
CEWE PHOTOBOOK m. books 2.60 2.33 -10.5% 0.27
Turnover EUR m. 314.0 297.8 -5.2% -16.2
EBIT EUR m. 80.3 72.1 -10.2% -8.2

Audited annual financial statements will all be presented at the Annual Report and Analysts’ Press Conference March 31, 2022.