KBA will cut its workforce by a further 700 in order to restore “competitiveness and profitability” in what it claims, is a much diminished market. At KBA’s annual general meeting, CEO Helge Hansen said big web presses, for print media that compete with online services, are a major cause of concern, with global demand well below pre-crisis levels.
A statement from KBA outlines, “Given the sober market prospects for web presses, Hansen sees no alternative but to trim the payroll at KBA’s Frankenthal, Würzburg and Trennfeld plants by a further 700 in order to restore competitiveness.”
Following protracted negotiations with employee representatives in Frankenthal, talks have now started at the other two locations. The measures proposed will reduce the group workforce from 6,377 at the end of May this year, to well below 6,000 at the end of 2013.
Despite the cutbacks and drop in web press demand, the company reported a substantial increase in new orders for sheetfed and special presses in the first five months of the year.
Even so, preliminary figures to June 1 reveal a leap of 21 per cent in new orders to around €600m and 27 per cent in sales to more than €420m.
The order backlog on May 31 totalled €617m, 40 per cent above the prior-year level. This is largely attributable to KBA’s broad product portfolio.
Hansen anticipates a similar improvement in the group’s half-year performance.