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KBA Goes Lucrative

Following the entry into the promising digital print market at Drupa 2012 with an own product, the Koenig & Bauer Group has strengthened its footing in the broad, growing market for packaging with the acquisition of two companies in recent months. This segment benefits from increasing levels of prosperity, consumption and the trend towards self-service markets in rapidly expanding industrial countries such as China, India, Brazil and Turkey. It is not affected by the growing popularity of online media. KBA is the longstanding market leader in printing systems for folding carton and metal packaging with its sheetfed offset facility in Radebeul near Dresden and subsidiary KBA-MetalPrint in Stuttgart.

KBA entered the expanding niche market for directly decorating luxury glass packaging and other hollow containers with the majority takeover of Kammann Maschinenbau in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany, concluded at the beginning of September. Following a long period of negotiations, the majority acquisition of Italian press manufacturer Flexotecnica based in Tavazzano near Milan was finalised in early December. This paves the way for the broadly-positioned press manufacturer into the key print market for flexible packaging (especially films). Next year the two youngest KBA subsidiaries will be renamed KBA-Kammann and KBA-Flexotecnica. Both companies have a total of some 280 employees in development and engineering, assembly, sales and service, while most of the manufacturing activities have been outsourced. Together the firms generate annual sales in the mid-double-digit million euro range.

The enterprise’s acting managing directors Matthias Graf und Dr Christian Maaß continue to hold a 15% stake in the future KBA-Kammann. The company has 175 employees and is the global market leader in screen printing systems for directly decorating luxury glass containers. Along with the predominant screen-printing systems, Kammann’s flexible transport systems can also be equipped with hot-stamping, inkjet and other decorating processes. The firm recently presented its first digital solution at K, the trade show for plastics and rubber in Düsseldorf. Directly decorated glass containers are mainly used for cosmetics, perfume and spirituous beverages in the top price class. In 2012 Kammann, which was founded in 1955, generated annual sales of over €30m ($39m) and posted a net profit.

With approx. 100 employees the future KBA-Flexotecnica develops, builds, distributes and services flexo presses for printing on flexible packaging materials. In 2012 the enterprise generated annual sales of approx. €36m ($49m) in Europe and in some overseas markets, and posted a pre-tax profit. Until now limited resources have curbed the mid-size firm’s growth. KBA-Flexotecnica’s integration into the Group’s global sales and service network will open up favourable prospects for further development. KBA took over the company from Officine Meccaniche G. Cerutti (OMGC), the previous majority stakeholder based in Casale Monferrato near Turin. However, OMGC will hold a 5% stake in the firm. Adriano Canette, a descendant of the founding family working in the company, remains a shareholder with 5%. KBA-Flexotecnica will be run by its previous managing director Claudio Bisogni. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

By expanding its product line-up for previously unaddressed growth markets KBA is countering the shrinking business volume in media-orientated print segments, such as magazines, catalogues and newspapers, affected by the advance of internet consumption.

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