KBA Reports 'Big' Increase in Demand; Drupa Boosts Press Orders

PRESS RELEASE

WüRZBURG, GERMANY—Koenig & Bauer AG reports "a big increase in demand following a three-year downturn in the press engineering industry," states a press release about the press manufacturer's performance. In addition, KBA says its "resounding success" at Drupa in May boosted orders for both sheetfed and web offset presses.

States the release: "Preliminary figures for the group reveal the volume of incoming orders jumped approximately 33% to more than €720 million. Sales, however, at around €510m, will be only slightly higher than twelve months earlier following changes in shipping and invoicing schedules."

Continues the OEM, "This, coupled with extraordinary expenses relating to Drupa in the second quarter, will result in a group loss being posted in the official interim report due to be issued in mid-August. The improvement in sales and earnings will work its way through to the bottom line in the second half of the year."

KBA also says its recent web division "shake-up," which began spring 2003—cost-cutting and efficiency-enhancing measures—continues to move at a quick pace. "An assembly plant in Kusel was closed down at the end of last year and one in Berlin (KBA-Berlin GmbH) will follow at the end of this year," explains KBA. "Excluding the 300 staff taken on with the acquisition of Metronic in 2003, the group payroll will fall to 6,975 by the end of June, very close to the figure originally envisaged. Organizational workflows have been streamlined, hierarchy levels stripped out and the management board reduced to five by merging sheetfed and web production into a single brief. During the next few months the focus will be on finalizing the implementation of a distributed manufacturing system."

KBA adds that higher shipments in the second half of the year will lift group sales to around €1.4 billion—the highest in KBA’s 187-year history. "Although exports and margins have been hit by ongoing pressure on prices for new and used machinery, by the high cost of steel, the strong euro, and wage inflation, KBA is targeting a return to profit in 2004. The current high level of capacity utilization driven by a flood of new orders makes this a realistic goal despite unsatisfactory prices."

Learn more about KBA at kba-planeta.de.




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