KBA Realigning, Cutting up to 1,500 Jobs

PrintAction Staff
December 16, 2013
By PrintAction Staff

The management board of German press maker Koenig & Bauer today presented a realignment concept that would create autonomous divisions for KBA Group's sheetfed and web businesses, as well as manufacturing and special applications. The move would affect KBA’s facility locations and anywhere from 1,100 to 1,500 jobs.

The supervisory board of company approved management’s realignment concept, which is still subject to approval during an Annual General Meeting in May 2014. Within a document about the realignment, KBA makes note of ongoing structural changes in the current media sector that have led to “significant excess capacities across the whole press manufacturing industry.”

KBA states how the world market for sheetfed presses has been halved over the recent years, and the market for web presses has contracted by around 70 percent, while sustained growth is only discernible in the digital and packaging segments, and in certain special markets.

“Swift and radical restructuring is intended to facilitate our development into a decentrally organized and highly flexible press manufacturing company, which, complementing its core business, is active above all in profitable niche markets,” said Claus Bolza-Schünemann, President and CEO of KBA. “With this decision, we have laid the foundations for sustainable realignment and interesting future prospects. The essential basis, however, is initially consolidation of our core business activities.”

The key concept of today's realignment proposal, however, is defined profit responsibilities for sheetfed presses, web presses, special applications and manufacturing. The division for special applications focuses on MetalPrint (metal decorating), security presses and the activities of the recently acquired companies Kammann Maschinenbau GmbH (screen printing for the direct decoration of hollow glass containers) and Flexotecnica S.p.A. (web flexo presses for flexible packaging).

Most of the KBA’ structural change – addressing capacity and personnel – will take place in the sheetfed offset division, particularly for what the company will define as under-performing product segments and sales units. In the web press division, KBA states activities are to be transferred to a business model based on labour flexibility, which will also create personnel adjustments.

In terms of facilities location for the overall group, it was decided to relocate selected production tasks, with corresponding personnel adjustments at its five European locations Würzburg, Radebeul, Frankenthal, Mödling (Austria) and Dobruška (Czech Republic). The closing or disposal of individual locations is not excluded, as well as administrative at the group headquarters in Würzburg. A total of between 1,100 and 1,500 jobs are to be affected at group level by the measures adopted today.

“We have made some far-reaching decisions for KBA today,” said CEO Bolza-Schünemann. “They will also be accompanied by painful cuts for the workforce. It was not easy for us to make these decisions, but they are unfortunately imperative for the future sustainability of our company. We should see the first fruits of these changes in 2015, and a return to sustainable profitability in 2016 at the latest.”

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