KBA’s first quarter of 2017 off to a strong start

The Koenig & Bauer Group (KBA) began on a high note in Q1 of 2017, the year in which it celebrates its 200th anniversary, with a 20.7% increase in order intake to €321.5m. At €259.1m, group revenue remained at the previous year’s level, while order backlog widened by 6.4% to €619.9m. EBIT came to €5m, substantially exceeding the previous year’s figure of €2.1m. “The clear focus on the growth markets of packaging, industrial and digital printing, as well as the group-wide service initiative launched at the beginning of 2016, are increasingly paying off,” said CFO Dr. Mathias Dähn. “We were able to widen the share of service business in group revenue from 24% in the previous year to 26% in the first quarter of 2017. We also made good headway in the packaging markets.”

Claus Bolza-Schünemann.
Claus Bolza-Schünemann.

“Our youngest subsidiary, KBA-Iberica Die Cutters, which specializes in flatbed die-cutters, posted growth in order intake, revenue and EBIT,” said CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann. “At the beginning of May, we presented two product innovations in our packaging printing business with a high-performance printing solution for two-part beverage cans, a market which had previously not been addressed, and the world’s first digital printing press for migration-free metal decorating.”

In the sheetfed segment, more service business and a substantial increase in orders for medium-format presses caused order intake to rise by 12% to €152m. At €150m, revenue fell 3% short of the previous year’s figure of €154.6m. KBA’s expanding flexo packaging activities were assigned to its Digital & Web division since the beginning of 2017. The systems for flexible packaging, which is seen as a market of the future by the OEM, are also web printing presses. With order intake up 18.5% to €57.7m and revenue declining slightly to €30.4m, the order backlog rose from €95.5m to €103.5m in Q1.

More orders in security printing and glass decorating resulted in new business in this segment to rise by 25.3% to €125.7m. Ahead of the Metpack tradeshow at the beginning of May, metal decorating orders fell short of the good previous year as expected. Revenue rose by 2.6% to €87.8m (2016: €85.6m). Segment profit increased to €4.6m, up from €1m in the first quarter of 2016. KBA’s workforce increased by 111 over the previous year to 5,327 employees as of March 31. In addition to specific recruiting in the expanding service segment, and for new applications for the packaging and digital printing markets, 67 employees joined the group with the acquisition of KBA-Iberica Die Cutters.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.