KBA Posts Profit for 2009, Targets Modest Sales Increase in 2010
Group sales, €1,050.4m, were just over two-thirds of the prior-year figure (€1,531.9m). Sheetfed sales picked up after a weak start to the year, but the final total of €478.7m was 33% down on the 2008 figure of €714.2m. Sales of web and special presses plunged by 30.1% to €571.7m (2008: €817.7m). The depth of the global market slump is reflected in the group year-end backlog of €335m (2008: €501.5m), its lowest level for over twenty years. Web and special presses accounted for €242.8m of the backlog, sheetfed presses for €92.2m.
China a solitary engine for growth
As economic output waned in Germany, KBA’s domestic sales plummeted by 30.9%. However, since many export markets were even weaker, its export level remained virtually unchanged at 84.5% (2008: 84.6%). The proportion of group sales generated in Europe nosedived from 51.4% to just 36%, well below the historic average. Thanks to continuing brisk demand from China, Asia/Pacific markets were once again second only to Europe in their significance for the group, generating 22.5% of total sales compared to 17.7% in 2008. Although North America still showed no sign of a perceptible upturn, the installation of a single multi-unit web press line in New York raised the proportion of total group sales generated in this core market from 9.4% to 13.9%. Latin America and Africa contributed an above-average 12.1% (2008: 6.1%).
Adjusting capacity to smaller market
The need to adjust to a diminishing market obliged KBA to reduce the group payroll by 869 to 6,969 (2008: 7,838). Although this was largely achieved through voluntary schemes to minimise the social impact, compulsory lay-offs could not be avoided. When the market-driven realignment is completed sometime this year KBA anticipates a Group payroll of around 6,000. At the end of February it had already been trimmed to 6,703. But no compromises have been made on maintaining staff skills: as in the previous year the number of apprentices and student trainees in the KBA Group was an above-average 5.8% of the workforce.