With several hundred guests from all over the world, Koenig & Bauer celebrated its 200th anniversary in the Vogel Convention Center on 21 September in Wurzburg. Many participants took the opportunity to visit the company’s state-of-the-art production facilities and the new Demo Center for digital and flexo printing presses as well as its collection of press inventions. For the event, a circular motion press from the year 1868 printed an engraving of the company’s birthplace, the monastery Oberzell, a Super Olof Intaglio III press printed a specimen banknote, the Genius 52UV from KBA-NotaSys printed a security document, the digital web press RotaJET L printed, among other things, a 2.2-meter long poster of the Würzburg-born basketball star Dirk Nowitzki, who plays in Dallas, USA, since many years. And the world’s largest inkjet press, the HP T1100S, produced for HP by Koenig & Bauer, printed a 2.8-meter wide liner for corrugated board.
At the well-attended international press conference, Claus Bolza-Schünemann, chief executive officer, Koenig & Bauer described several milestones in the last 200 years. He made particular mention of the acquisitions made over the last 25 years, many of which are related to the glass, flexibles and carton packaging segments that have continued in the past decade in spite of the economic crisis of 2008.
Adding to profitability in the next four years
After the 2009 slump in the printing industry, Koenig & Bauer introduced a new holding structure and largely completed its comprehensive reorientation in 2015. Thanks to its strong growth in special markets such as the packaging and security printing sectors, Koenig & Bauer achieved the best result in the company’s history in 2016, with an EBIT of EUR 87.1 million. The company takes pride in the quality of its balance sheet, and the increase in its share price from EUR 10 at the beginning of 2015 to significantly over EUR 60 currently vindicates the company’s strong measures in reorganization and re-focus.
The 200-year-old Koenig & Bauer hopes to add EUR 70 million to its profits in the 4-year period from 2017 to 2021, with EUR 20 million each coming from increased profits in the servicing and security printing businesses. The balance EUR 30 million in added profits are expected to come from internal savings of Euro 15 million each from improved integrated production processes and from the savings in strategic purchasing by the group.
Chief financial officer Dr Mathias Dähn presented the corporate goals and strategies for the coming years. He said, “After a decade of declining sales, growth has become the central pillar of our corporate strategy. All business units should contribute to this and work profitably.” In view of the growth of the world economy, the world population, online commerce and the number of single-person households, he sees particular opportunities in the packaging sector.
According to Dähn, the Koenig & Bauer Group has set itself a goal for the anniversary year of 2017, with a group turnover of approximately EUR 1.25 billion and an EBIT margin of around 6 %. The planning for the period up to 2021 provides for a growth in sales of 4% p.a. and, depending on the development of the world economy, an annual EBIT margin between 4% and 9%.
Paperboard, corrugated, glass, metal and flexible packaging
In 2013, Koenig & Bauer became the majority owner of Germany-based Kammann Maschinenbau, which is the market leader in screen printing systems for direct printing on glass containers. Also in 2013, Koenig & Bauer acquired Italybased Flexotecnica, a technically advanced manufacturer of wide web CI flexo presses used for flexible packaging.
For carton printing and converting, the Koenig & Bauer Rapida sheetfed offset presses in the large sizes enjoy the largest market share and apparently Iberica’s autoplaten diecutters (it acquired the Spain-based diecutter manufacturer around drupa 2016) are improving in sales. For sheetfed offset metal packaging, KBA Metalprint has long enjoyed a strong market position in 3-piece containers; and at Metpack, KBA Metalprint showed its innovative two-piece can printing machine for which it also won an award at the show.
These together with the company’s thrust into digital have diversified the company across all types of packaging print including cartons, corrugated, metal, glass and flexibles. Although the company has resigned itself to the rapid shrinking of newspaper and magazine market and looks to expand its service offerings in that sphere, it’s clear that for the foreseeable future, packaging is the focus of the company—all types of packaging.
The company is already the market leader in the printing of cardboard, metal and glass packaging. It wants to improve its market share further in flexible packaging printing where its acquisition of Flexotecnica has only yielded a 6% market share thus far and where the management has been reorganized in the past year. The Iberica diecutter acquisition in 2016 has already gained traction according to Dähn. The market is also keenly anticipating launch of the K&B Rotocutter for corrugated boxes. The company is open to acquisitions and these could even include a foldergluer manufacturer to perhaps provide a one-stop solution for the carton segment.
Koenig & Bauer is making progress in the corrugated packaging arena with its heavy metal manufacture and with its digital collaboration with HP for the webfed inkjet press to print top liners for corrugation. Dähn described the cooperation with HP in digital inkjet printing for the corrugated board segment as successful and future oriented. Moreover, Bolza-Schünemann also announced the order of the first digital CorruJET sheetfed press for corrugated board from a German customer.