At KBA’s 86th annual general meeting in Würzburg, Germany, company President and CEO Helge Hansen announced plans to trim KBA’s workforce at its Würzburg and Trennfeld plants by 700 “to restore competitiveness and profitability in a much-diminished market.” However, Hansen also reported that the company’s sales are up 27 percent in the first five months of this year, over the same period last year.
Despite the company’s growth in orders and sales numbers, it has fallen short of its annual targets so far. Company management says it stands by its objective for 2011 of a single-digit percentage increase in group sales over the previous year (€1.18 billion), and a moderate improvement in earnings. The company has also suffered a six-week strike at its Frankenthal
plant, which has resulted in a skeleton agreement drafted for the union
involved last week. The agreement with the Industrial Union of Metalworkers sees some of the production being shifted to its
Würzburg plant before the Frankenthal plant is shuttered by 2016.
Hansen also discussed the merger scenarios which were rumoured between the top three press manufacturers at the height of the slump: “The merger scenarios mooted would have led to more redundancies and closures, a loss of productivity through staff tensions, and the costs that these entail. With industry players working to capacity until 2007, the charge of failing to diversify sooner can only be leveled by those who have no idea how hard it is to change horses in midstream.”
Diversification was also a primary goal to KBA, announced Hansen, pointing to its partnership announcement with RR Donnelley, announced in March, as a way to rapidly enter the inkjet market.