Krones has revealed strong growth in pretax profit and income for 2012, despite legal settlements and tax repayments taking a bite out of its figures.
The beverage filling and packaging giant said pretax profit last year grew 31.2% over the 2011 level, from €74.6m to €97.9m, on consolidated revenue up 7.4% from €2.48m to €2.66m.
However, pretax profits had been hit by a one-time charge of €37.8m, plus a similar charge relating to the previous year, for settlement payments made in connection with Krones' legal disputes with Le Nature's in the US.
In November last year , Krones was compelled to pay $110m to plaintiffs who claimed the company was party to fraudulent practices by bottling firm Le Nature's, which went bankrupt in 2006. Krones was also required to pay the US treasury $15m for the District Attorney to discontinue the investigation.
Gregory Podlucky, chief executive of Le Nature's is currently serving a 20-year sentence in Fort Dix Federal Corrections Institute, New Jersey, US, after pleading guilty to charges.
Lawsuits claimed Krones had colluded with Le Nature's in artificially inflating the costs of equipment, a claim Krones always vigorously denied, saying it had been an innocent victim of Le Nature's scheming.
Despite the settlement charges, though, Krones said it managed to generate free cash flow of €30.6m last year and its net income net income rose by 53.3% to €67m.
It declared this performance in a preliminary report ahead of its full-year financial results, which are scheduled to be released on April 24, 2013.
The company said new orders, which improved 8.2% year-on-year from €2.51m to €2.72m in 2012 had helped fuel its growth, echoing claims made in its full-year results for 2011.
Krones expects to publish a report on expected developments for the financial year 2013 as well as the complete financial statements for 2012 on the day of its financial press conference.