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  • Sha Jumari

Koenig & Bauer is well positioned for the future

Koenig & Bauer concluded a successful 200th anniversary week with a clear strategy for the future and a rebranding initiative.

More than 13,000 visitors gathered at Koenig & Bauer AG’s Open Day on 23 September 2017 as the company concluded festivities for its 200th anniversary. The German press manufacturer first kicked off celebrations with an international press conference at its facilities in Würzburg, Germany on 20 September.

A major announcement was the unveiling of the company’s rebranding and new marketing appearance. KBA will now revert back to its original brand name: Koenig & Bauer. Along with the name change, is a new logo, means of communication and equipment and product design.

The official jubilee ceremony followed the night after with 650 international guests at the Vogel Convention Center (VCC). CEOs from renowned European companies presented on the current situation and future prospects of print in media, packaging and security. Germany’s former president, Horst Köhler, graced the even with a moving speech highlighting the conflict between the growth of the world population, the scarcity of resources and digitalization.

As part of the jubilee celebrations, Koenig & Bauer hosted customers and business partners at its Würzburg facilities. During the factory tour, guests were able to experience historical and modern printing presses in action. The tour also introduced the site of the new demo centre, which will house digital and flexo printing presses by the end of the year.

The tour included a showcase of the the digital web press RotaJET L, which incorporated the new sleek design.

Focus in Growth in Packaging

“Koenig & Bauer is well-positioned for the future,” highlighted CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann, who is the sixth generation in the family to lead the company. He opened the press conference presenting on the company’s milestones over the last 200 years, paying special attention to acquisitions the company made between 2002 to 2013.

From l-r: Koenig & Bauer's marketing director, Klaus Schmidt; CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann; chief financial officer, Dr. Mathias Dähn.

Traditionally analogue, the company previously targeted media-oriented markets such as newspaper, book, magazine and catalogue printing. Today, 90% of turnover from new press sales is accounted for by the growth markets digital and packaging printing and by securities printing.

Koenig & Bauer currently holds more than 80% world market share in banknote printing, and a 63% share in large format and package printing. Only 30% is in commercial web and newspaper printing.

"From morning to evening, we meet printed products that were produced on Koenig & Bauer presses: from the directly printed perfume bottle in the bathroom in the morning, the newspaper at the breakfast table, banknotes, credit cards and a wide range of packaging when going shopping, to books or magazines in the evening. The best thing about this is that most of these print products cannot be replaced by online media or computer screens, and the demand is continuing to rise. This makes us optimistic for our future,” said Bolza-Schünemann.

Koenig & Bauer is making ways to be the leading player in packaging printing; the company is already the market leader in the printing of cardboard, metal and glass bodies. Drivers within the packaging sector include the trend towards sophisticated packaging, growth of the world economy, world population, the number of single-person households, and the rise of online commerce which has high returned-goods ratios.

This region will play a major role in the company’s packaging focus, as “80% of packaging is expected to come from Asia,” said Dr. Mathias Dähn, the company’s Chief Financial Officer.

The company also has 80% world market share in metal décor, glass and hollow container printing through the acquisition of German company Kammann Maschinenbau. Koenig & Bauer launched the MetalDecojet, a digital press for metal decorating at MetPark 2017 in Essen, Germany. It announced its first sale of the first sale. The CS MetalCan, a 2-piece beverage can printing machine was also previewed. The CS MetalCan is expected to launch in 2018 following intensive field tests. Dähn added that the machine achieved a “very good initial reaction, and that the big can makers are interested.”

Koenig & Bauer is also looking to improve its market share in flexible packaging printing, corrugated board printing and the marking & coding sector. New products including the VariJet 106 digital hybrid press as well as digital, flexo and offset presses for corrugated board, metal sheets and beverage cans are intended to contribute to this.

Within the industrial printing space, Koenig & Bauer introduced the RotaJET VL, which is up to 2.25 m wide and can serve applications such as decorative printing.

In order to make up for the drop in demand for web offset presses for newspaper and commercial printing, the company company now plans to expand its services to cover older presses. New services have been offered within the framework of digital transformation. The service turnover for sheetfed and web presses has grown significantly, and is expected to rise to 30% of group turnover.

The Zero Tolerance to Loss

In 2016, Koenig & Bauer charted its best profitability, with an EBIT of 87.1 million euros. Dr. Dähn credited the increase in the share price from 10 euro at the beginning of 2015, to significantly over 60 Euro now, to Koenig & Bauer’s renewed strategy and development.

He further emphasised the company’s “zero tolerance to loss” policy, when it terminated and successfully redesigned all loss-making businesses in 2014. The company also introduced strong corporate governance that enabled accountable management, and no cross-subsidies.

"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," said Dr Dähn.

For 2017, Koenig & Bauer has set itself a goal with a group turnover of approximately 1.25 billion euro 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%.

Jubilee Box Set

For the company's birthday, Koenig & Bauer has produced a jubilee box set of commemorative publications entitled "People ‒ Machines ‒ Ideas". The almost 2 kg set consisted of a small-format hardcover book, a collection of posters, and a magazine.

Presented by Koenig & Bauer’s marketing director, Klaus Schmidt, the three printed products differ greatly in terms of content and design, and are not a chronological enumeration of the events and achievements of the last 200 years.

"Our unusual commemorative publication is a printed declaration of love for the past, present and future of print,” said Schmidt.


For the full report, read the latest issue of Labels and Packaging Innovation Asia.

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