KBA to close Trennfeld site

Ben Bold
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

KBA is to merge its Trennfeld plant into its main Wrzburg facility 16 miles away, a move it said would save several million euros a year but lead to "almost all" 220 staff being offered new roles.

The announcement was made to Trennfeld workers today by KBA chief executive Claus Bolza-Schünemann.

Trennfeld employs 220 skilled staff, responsible for assembling printing units and superstructures for commercial and newspaper presses. Klaus Schmidt, KBA’s director of marketing, told PrintWeek that "almost all" of the staff at Trennfeld would be offered new roles at its Würzburg plant, although he tacitly acknowledged that some back-office roles would be affected, adding: "there is only a handful of overhead staff in Trennfeld".

The German press manufacturer said that the move would help it tackle the "challenges caused by rivalling online media, structural changes in the printing industry and enormous leaps in productivity of new machinery" in the shrinking web offset press market.

Schmidt said that the merger, which will take place between September 2013 and the end of the year, would save KBA "several millions of euros per year". He added that although no final decision has been taken, the Trennfeld site would probably be put up for sale.

Bolza-Schünemann added that the decision to merge the plants was not an easy one. "From an economical point of view keeping two only partly-utilised plants open does not make sense," he said. "Our web businesses can only look positively into the future when all employees, space and equipment available are fully utilised.

"As a result of the relocation and the closer proximity to construction and manufacturing activities it brings with it, we expect simplified processes and considerable savings."

The firm has already cut personnel through the realignment of its plants, including splitting its Frankenthal plant into two limited companies last year and opening them up to external contractors. Production of a new series of presses for printing bank notes has also been transferred from its KBA-Mödling subsidiary in Austria to the Würzburg factory.

The firm said that due to supplier over-capacity, it expects web press sales to continue to fall over the next three years.

Last month, KBA announced a double-digit operating and pre-tax profit in its results for the nine months to 30 September 2012, reversing last year’s losses over the same period.

KBA's Trennfeld production facility was founded in 1964.

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