At the well-attended 87th annual general meeting in Würzburg of the world’s second-largest press manufacturer, Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA), president and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann reported a strong group performance at Drupa, the world’s leading trade fair for the print media industry that took place in May. Contracts worth well over one hundred million euros were signed at the fair in Düsseldorf, most of them for batch-produced sheetfed offset presses. Post-Drupa business is also brisk.
While the positive impact of Drupa on order intake and sales will not work through to the bottom line for some weeks or even months, preliminary figures for KBA’s sheetfed offset division show that the volume of new orders booked to the end of May approached €300m, roughly 12% up on 2011. However, orders for web and special presses totalled approximately €190m, a big drop on the prior-year figure of more than €335m, which had been boosted by some major contracts. The group order intake of just over €486m for the first five months was thus lower than twelve months earlier but higher than group sales for the same period, which stood at around €458m or around 8% up on the prior-year figure. The order backlog at 31 May exceeded €854m and was a good €236m above the prior-year figure. This will contribute to the higher sales targeted in the second six months.
Payroll falls below 6,000, excluding apprentices
While Bolza-Schünemann anticipates higher earnings for the first six months compared to 2011, he was unwilling to disclose any concrete figures before the half-year report is published on 14 August. Notwithstanding the increased risks relating to the global economy, management is targeting sales of more than €1.2bn for 2012 and a higher pre-tax group profit compared to 2011 (€3.3m). This projection is based on an anticipated high level of plant utilisation in the second half-year and a positive impact on earnings from ongoing cost-cutting activities. At the end of May the KBA group payroll totalled 6,256, or 121 fewer than in the previous year. Excluding 328 apprentices the group payroll has already fallen below 6,000 and will be reduced by several hundred more over the next few years as a number of measures such as phased retirement reach completion.
KBA aiming to actively shape print’s future
Discussing changes in the media environment, technological advances and structural transitions in the print media industry, Bolza-Schünemann said they offer opportunities for the KBA group, with its extensive portfolio of innovative products and services, to expand market share: “We are aiming to close the gap to the number one player in sheetfed offset and move up to the number two slot in commercial web offset. As the market leader for newspaper presses we are adjusting our product palette to a smaller market volume while boosting profitability. We are also planning to expand our range of special presses. Over and above this, we are rigorously stepping up our service activities.”
Focus on profitable niche markets and new business lines