GEA takes €18m hit from 'unexpected' pharma cancellation in 2016

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStock/vladz_2009
Image: iStock/vladz_2009

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Sales within the pharma division of German engineering firm GEA were down in 2016, partly due to an unexpected €18m contract cancellation.

GEA Group published its preliminary 2016 figures this week and total revenues across all its divisions were down 2.3% year-on-year to €4.49bn ($4.8bn). 

The Düsseldorf, Germany-headquartered firm’s primary source of revenue comes from the food industry but it also supplies pharma manufacturing firms with processing equipment and technology, though this division also had a disappointing year in terms of sales and orders.

“Pharma has come down a bit compared to last year,”​ spokesman Marc Poenitz told “We have not disclosed any further details as we just released preliminary key figures.”

One of the issues that hit the division was the loss of a pharma contract worth around €18m, described as being “totally unexpected”​ by CFO Helmut Schmale during a call this week.

Poenitz explained: “There was a cancellation of a major pharma order due to the fact that a certain drug was not approved. Thus, the customer came back to us, and asked for an amicable settlement.”

Neither the drug nor the customer was disclosed.

The proportion of pharma sales for 2016 have also not yet been disclosed, but Poenitz did tell us that pharma customers represented 7% of the order intake for 2016 – around €327m.

He was also positive about future demand for GEA’s pharma offerings, telling us “GEA is a strong innovative company and is convinced that we can stay ahead of competitors only with very innovative solutions and a comprehensive service portfolio.”

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