KBA to Integrate Two of Its Press Manufacturing Plants in Germany

WÜRZBURG, GERMANY—Dec. 4, 2012—In Autumn 2013, Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA) will integrate its press manufacturing plant in Trennfeld, which was founded in 1964, into its main plant in Würzburg. The world’s second-largest printing press manufacturer is thus pushing ahead, actively tackling the challenges caused by competition from online media, structural changes in the printing industry and enormous leaps in the productivity of new machinery in the significantly smaller global market for web offset presses.

At Trennfeld, some 220 skilled staff currently assembles printing units and superstructures for commercial and newspaper presses. As part of the relocation, the highly qualified assembly specialists in Trennfeld will be offered new positions in the main plant in Würzburg, only 16 miles away.

KBA recognized the market slump early and over the past years has carried out a raft of measures to adjust capacity and realign its sheetfed and web press plants. This effort has also involved a significant reduction in personnel and the splitting of the plant in Frankenthal into two limited companies last year and opening them up to external contractors.

The foundry and other manufacturing cells at the plant in Würzburg are being increasingly used for supplies to the sheetfed offset plant in Radebeul, Germany, near Dresden. In addition, production of a new series of presses for printing bank notes has been transferred from the subsidiary KBA-Mödling AG in Austria to the main plant in Würzburg.

Thanks to its unique broad product portfolio targeting different print sectors and the realignment of its plants initiated three years ago, the KBA group has been the only major press manufacturer to remain in the black since 2009. The company had pre-tax earnings of €12.5 million at the end of the third quarter.

KBA’s strong position in non-media-dependent markets, such as packaging and securities, is a big advantage compared to the main competitors. However, the traditional core business in web presses for commercial and newspaper printing is suffering from supplier over-capacity for a global market that has shrunk by more than half since 2007. So earnings in this division have been accordingly low.

With no expectations of sustainable market recovery of any magnitude, KBA is anticipating a smaller volume for new web press sales over the next three years. The current plants are still too big.

CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann explained that, “The decision made by the management and the supervisory board to integrate the Trennfeld plant was not an easy one. From an economical point of view, keeping two only partly utilized plants open does not make sense. Our web business can only look positively into the future when all employees, space and equipment available are fully utilized. As a result of the relocation and the closer proximity to construction and manufacturing activities it brings with it, we expect simplified processes and considerable savings.”

Upon completion of the relocation, the plant in Trennfeld will be closed at the end of 2013.

Source: KBA.

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