Realignment of sheetfed operations to a smaller market

Koenig & Bauer: Unavoidable capacity adjustments at Radebeul facility

Würzburg/Radebeul, (PresseBox) - Printing press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer AG already announced at the presentation of its third-quarter corporate figures in mid-November 2008 that it would for the first time be necessary to realise capacity adjustments impacting its sheetfed offset division in response to the global economic crisis and a 40% slump in the world market volume. The brunt of the staff reductions, almost 700 jobs in total, is to be borne by the KBA manufacturing facility in Radebeul near Dresden, which still counted some 2,100 employees at the end of March 2009. Further measures have already been initiated to reduce the workforces at the company's foreign sheetfed offset locations.

Job guarantees until 2011

Constructive negotiations between the works council in Radebeul, the Dresden office of the trade union IG Metall and KBA management representatives have produced a social welfare plan to balance the individual interests of the employees concerned. The collective redundancies affect a total of 650 jobs. Social hardships are to be avoided as far as possible, and the remaining jobs at the Radebeul location are to be safeguarded under a job guarantee scheme valid initially until 31.12.2011.

Appropriate financial means were already set aside in 2008 as provision for these capacity adjustment measures, which the company board described as unavoidable in view of the negative market, turnover and earnings situation in the sheetfed segment. The significant savings achieved through the reductions in personnel and material costs will translate into sustained improvements in both the division and group performance. The measures are similarly expected to increase the present utilisation of the workforce, for which short-time working was introduced in November 2008. Correspondingly, the executive board already announced a marked improvement of the company's earnings for the current year compared to 2008 at the presentation of the latest quarterly figures on 15th May.

Customer-orientation and innovation with a smaller team

President and CEO Helge Hansen: "KBA is not responsible for the financial and economic crises, but like many other export-oriented companies, we are suffering its consequences. This applies in particular to our sheetfed offset division. Payroll adjustments of the order which are currently being implemented at the Radebeul facility are always very painful, not only for those directly affected, but also for their remaining colleagues, and indeed for every responsible manager. But there was unfortunately no alternative to safeguard the majority of jobs at a location which has been known all over the world for its outstanding printing presses for more than a hundred years. My colleagues and I greatly regret having to part company with so many excellently qualified young employees, who will no doubt be in great demand elsewhere once the economy picks up again. Over many years, KBA Radebeul was able to record continuous, often double-digit growth thanks to its portfolio of innovative products. Now, however, like the rest of the branch, we must come to terms with a smaller market volume in the foreseeable future. The restructuring permits us to improve our competitiveness, without compromising the innovation strength and flexibility which is so appreciated by the market. KBA is well-equipped for the difficult economic situation. We have no net debts, an above-average equity ratio and liquidity is assured. The realignment is heading us in the right direction, and completion of the adjustment measures will enable us to once more concentrate full attention on our customers and our core business."

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