Koenig & Bauer realigns for future

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Press manufacturing giant Koenig & Bauer is implementing what it says is a “far-reaching” four-year restructuring plan, under the Performance 2024 moniker, as it deals with the ongoing effects of the pandemic, which is reducing press investment levels around the world.

Performance 2024 team:
Performance 2024 team: (l-r) Michael Ulverich, COO; Claus Bolza-Schünemann, CEO; Dr Andreas Pleßke, segment board member

Under the plan, which will cost around €50m to implement, the company says it will generate cost savings of around €100m. It will shed around 15 per cent of its 5700 staff, freeze new hiring, introduce short-time working, and cut back on contractors. It will also relocate and realign some of its production facilities. Its spend on research and development will not be affected.

Koenig & Bauer says it has a “clear commitment to the current portfolio strategy” and its focus on packaging, specialist, and digital printing is to continue. The company said: “The investments in digital print and direct post-printing on corrugated board are being pursued with vigour, as is the joint venture with the Durst Group, so too are new developments for security printing in the pipeline.”

The company says its principal market segments, such as the structurally expanding areas of packaging and industrial printing, “remain fundamentally intact”. It says this is clearly demonstrated by the good levels of capacity utilisation currently reported by printers of packaging for food products, beverages, and pharmaceuticals, as well as the booming online trade.

Koenig & Bauer has just launched two new sheetfed offset presses, the Rapida 106X and Rapida 76. They would have been centre stage at drupa, which is now taking place next year and to which the company remains committed.

The company says the performance programme also aims to scale group activities “as the global economic situation, the still widely applicable travel restrictions, and worsening Covid-19 developments suggest there will only be moderate turnover growth in the next few years, and a short-term return to pre-crisis levels is not anticipated.”

Upon conclusion of the programme, turnover at the Koenig & Bauer Group is expected to reach around €1.3bn, which is roughly the same level as 2018. On the earnings side, the management board hopes that implementation of the approved cost and structural adaptations will help maintain a return on sales totalling at least 7 per cent over the medium term.

“Today, we have made far-reaching decisions for Koenig & Bauer, made necessary by negative global economic developments in tandem with ever-changing customer needs and demands. They are also associated with painful cuts for the workforce. These difficult and challenging steps were not easy to take, but they are imperative to safeguarding the long-term future of our 203-year-old company," president and CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann said.

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