Press manufacturing giant KBA has made a welcome return to profit, on the back of strong growth in web press sales, although sheetfed continues to struggle for growth.
Operating profit for the world’s oldest press manufacturer was €13.6m, a turnaround from the €7.3m loss the previous year, net profit was €4.5m against a €14.7m loss in 2011.
Sales at the German company were up by 15.9 per cent on the year to June 2012 compared with the previous year, with the web and special presses division recording a dramatic 38.2 per cent increase to €347.5m. Sheetfed sales slipped slightly to €243m, down by 5.9 per cent on the previous year.
The order backlog currently stands at €814.5m, a third higher than the previous year’s figure, with sheetfed up 25.8 per cent and web / special presses up by 36.3 per cent.
An 18.6 per cent drop in German sales compared to 2011 raised the export level to 89.7 per cent.
Reflecting the importance of emerging markets to press manufacturers and driven by demand in China, sales in Asia and the Pacific contributed 27.4 per cent of the group total, closely approaching the figure for the rest of Europe (28.6 per cent). The volume of group sales attributable to central and south America and Africa was an above average 26.7 per cent, but the figure for North America sank from 8.3 per cent to 7 per cent.
During the year KBA shed 134 staff to end up with 6,252 employees. It anticpates a further drop to take its headcount to less than 6,000, including some 350 apprentices, in the coming year.