KBA CEO LOOKS FOR­WARD

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was be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­plex. KBA an­swered this trend with the four-high tower presses Jour­nal and Colora in the early 1990s. Later, they were joined by the sin­gle-width four-high tower se­ries Comet and Con­ti­nent. The less ex­pen­sive four-high tower de­sign ap­pealed to many new in­ter­na­tional cus­tomers and helped to es­tab­lish the com­pany as num­ber one in news­pa­per print­ing.

KBA has never shied away from the pur­suit of new ideas. Al­ready at drupa 1995, an Anilox-Ex­press was demon­strated with au­to­matic plate chang­ing. An im­printer with Sci­tex inkjet heads in the su­per­struc­ture added a vari­able dig­i­tal car­i­ca­ture to each off­set copy. In prac­tice, it was then al­most 18 years be­fore the inkjet tech­nol­ogy was used in webfed off­set. At drupa 2000, a new trend to­wards com­pact news­pa­per presses was her­alded by the KBA Cortina, which stood only 4 me­tres high. Fur­ther features new to news­pa­per off­set were the elim­i­na­tion of damp­en­ing units, four-high tow­ers that glided apart for easy ac­cess, ded­i­cated drives for each cylin­der and the ease of op­er­a­tion with au­to­matic plate chang­ing and lifts to the up­per cou­ples. The wa­ter­less KBA Cortina has re­mained unique on the news­pa­per mar­ket to this day and is the only cold­est press avail­able with var­nish­ing units for high-qual­ity semi-com­mer­cial print­ing.

De­spite the much smaller world mar­ket for new web presses to­day and our ac­tiv­i­ties in the dig­i­tal and pack­ag­ing mar­kets, KBADig­i­tal & Web will con­tinue to de­velop and de­liver state-of-the-art web off­set presses to the news­pa­per in­dus­try.

News & Tech: KBA’s rev­enue in­creased by over 14 per­cent in 2016 and the com­pany had a steady back­log of or­ders into the first quar­ter of 2017. What are KBA’s fac­tors for suc­cess dur­ing these chal­leng­ing eco­nomic con­di­tions?

Bolza-Schune­mann: At the turn of the cen­tury, 60 per­cent of our turnover from new press sales was gen­er­ated in mar­ket seg­ments that are un­der pres­sure from the on­line me­dia. Printed news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines and cat­a­logues suf­fered most from the me­dia shift. In the last nine years, the world mar­ket for new web off­set presses (news­pa­per and com­mer­cial presses to­gether) has dropped by more than 80 per­cent. So we started an ex­ten­sive Fit@All pro­gram in 2013 and im­ple­mented fun­da­men­tal struc­tural changes in 2014 and 2015 to meet the chal­lenges of dig­i­ti­za­tion and glob­al­iza­tion in the third cen­tury of our com­pany his­tory. Our mar­ket-ori­ented ca­pac­ity re­align­ment, the in­tro­duc­tion of a new group struc­ture with Koenig & Bauer AG as a cen­tral hold­ing, and in­de­pen­dent busi­ness di­vi­sions for the sheetfed, dig­i­tal and web and spe­cial ap­pli­ca­tions seg­ments have strength­ened our fo­cus on prof­itable and fu­ture-ori­ented mar­kets. To­day, ap­prox­i­mately 90 per­cent of KBA Group turnover is gen­er­ated by the growth mar­kets dig­i­tal and pack­ag­ing print­ing and by se­cu­ri­ties print­ing and only 10 per­cent by the shrunken web off­set segment. How­ever, our huge base of in­stalled web off­set presses is still im­por­tant for our ser­vice busi­ness and we still of­fer tai­lor-made and highly made news­pa­per presses if they are needed. (For ex­am­ple), we sold two KBA Cortina presses to­gether with a ma­jor retro­fit of a huge KBA Com­man­der press line to a cus­tomer in Bel­gium.

News & Tech: How has your re­la­tion­ship with news­pa­per cus­tomers changed, es­pe­cially in the United States?

Bolza-Schune­mann: We have still a close re­la­tion­ship with our ex­ist­ing cus­tomers, of­fer the needed ser­vices and retrofits for ex­ist­ing press lines and would be more than happy to get new or­ders for new presses from cur­rent or new news­pa­per cus­tomers in North Amer­ica. How­ever, we have to be re­al­is­tic. Cur­rently, the will­ing­ness of the news­pa­per in­dus­try in the U.S. and other parts of the world to in­vest in new news­pa­per print­ing equip­ment is not very strong. So we had to ex­tend our ac­tiv­i­ties in growth mar­kets like dig­i­tal, pack­ag­ing and func­tional print­ing to fill our ca­pac­i­ties and en­sure a good fu­ture for Koenig & Bauer as the old­est press man­u­fac­turer in the world.

News & Tech: Char­ac­ter­ize KBA’s global busi­ness strate­gies. Where do you see the most growth, and how are you po­si­tion­ing KBA to com­pete for busi­ness?

Bolza-Schune­mann: Af­ter seven years with de­clin­ing rev­enues and earn­ings in the course of the fi­nan­cial cri­sis and the me­dia, the KBA Group re­turned to growth and prof­itabil­ity in 2015. In the 2016 busi­ness year, we man­aged to in­crease group rev­enue by 14 per­cent to €1.167 bil­lion and, com­pared to the pre­vi­ous busi­ness year, al­most tripling EBIT to € 81 mil­lion. This war far above av­er­age of our in­dus­try. Prof­itable growth in mar­kets of the fu­ture with a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion of all busi­ness seg­ments is our main tar­get. Along­side ser­vice growth, our main strate­gic fo­cus is on pack­ag­ing and in­dus­trial ( func­tional) print­ing since these are and will be growth mar­kets for print in the fu­ture. With the widest press port­fo­lio in the in­dus­try, KBA al­ready cov­ers most seg­ments of the pack­ag­ing mar­ket, but we see still po­ten­tial for us in the dy­namic mar­ket seg­ments fold­ing car­ton, cor­ru­gated and flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing. For these seg­ments, we al­ready have new prod­ucts in the pipe­line. The same ap­plies to pack­ag­ing niche mar­kets like dec­o­rat­ing of metal boxes or pre­mium glass con­tain­ers and in­dus­trial mar- kets like dec­o­ra­tive print­ing. In the mean­time, KBA of­fers not only ana­log but also dig­i­tal print­ing tech­nolo­gies for al­most all these mar­kets. Be­sides our own de­vel­op­ments, KBA has a suc­cess­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion with Amer­i­can com­pa­nies in the growth sec­tor dig­i­tal print­ing. KBA-Dig­i­tal & Web in Wurzburg builds the world’s largest inkjet web press for HP, the HP T1100S for cor­ru­gated pre­prints. For our KBA Ro­taJET inkjet web, we co­op­er­ate suc­cess­fully with RR Don­nel­ley and for the new KBA Var­iJET 106 dig­i­tal sheetfed hy­brid press, XEROX is our partner. Be­cause of shorter in­no­va­tion cy­cles, col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween sup­pli­ers will be­come more im­por­tant. Both can be com­peti­tors in one busi­ness area and part­ners in another. This is al­ready the rule in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try for many years.

News & Tech: Where do you see KBA po­si­tioned in the next five years? Group tar­gets for 2017–2021?

Bolza-Schune­mann: Our tar­get is to in­crease group rev­enue or­gan­i­cally by around 4 per­cent per year un­til 2021. More than half of this growth will be gen­er­ated in pack­ag­ing print­ing. Fur­ther growth is to be gen­er­ated by the ex­pan­sion of the ser­vice busi­ness in all seg­ments, as well as by mar­ket share gains. How­ever, we don’t want growth at any price. What we are seek­ing is prof­itable growth. De­pend­ing on global econ­omy and end mar­kets, the KBA Group is tar­get­ing an EBIT mar­gin of be­tween 4 per­cent and 9 per­cent for the pe­riod un­til 2021. In ad­di­tion, we want to strengthen the group’s sta­bil­ity by re­duc­ing volatil­ity and risks. Fur­ther tar­gets in­clude a div­i­dend ra­tio of 15–35 per­cent of group net profit, an eq­uity ra­tio of over 45 per­cent and a work­ing cap­i­tal tar­get cor­ri­dor of 20–25 per­cent of rev­enue. Based on the widest press port­fo­lio of all man­u­fac­tur­ers for al­most all print­ing needs, our many so­lu­tions for growth mar­kets like pack­ag­ing and our fi­nan­cial strength, we see good chances to ex­tend our al­ready strong po­si­tion in the pre­mier league of our in­dus­try even fur­ther.

News & Tech: What is KBA’s ma­jor fo­cus for Print 17?

Bolza-Schune­mann: The Print trade show in Chicago is mainly a trade show for com­mer­cial print­ing. So our main fo­cus will be on our off­set and dig­i­tal press port­fo­lio for this mar­ket segment. In ad­di­tion, fold­ing car­ton, cor­ru­gated and flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing and news­pa­per print­ers, look­ing for proven and fu­ture-ori­ented con­ven­tional and dig­i­tal so­lu­tions for their print­ing needs, will also find com­pe­tent con­tact peo­ple and help­ful in­for­ma­tion at our booth.

MARY VAN ME­TER

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