KBA-France Celebrates its 20th Jubilee
Monday, January 19, 2015
Press release from the issuing company
200 installed presses, No. 1 in packaging printing and over 90% customer loyalty
While the parent Koenig & Bauer looked back in November 2014 at the 200th birthday of the first cylinder press (the so-called Times press) developed by its founders Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer, subsidiary KBA-France based in the suburbs of Paris celebrated its 20th anniversary last September. Managing director Michel Faust, who has successfully stood at the helm of this French subsidiary for over 10 years, looks back at the last 20 years and ventured to provide KBA Report with an outlook for 2015.
Mr Faust, how did it all begin at KBA-France 20 years ago?
Michel Faust: KBA-France was founded in September 1994 with eight employees in Tremblay-en-France, where its headquarters are situated today. We were proud to be the first subsidiary of a German press manufacturer in France. However, the beginning was anything but easy for us. The takeover of Planeta by Koenig & Bauer in 1991 scared away numerous longstanding Planeta users. Many turned their backs on what then became KBA-Planeta. When KBA-France was founded in 1994 only six Rapidas from Koenig & Bauer had been installed in France ? two Rapida 104 and four Rapida 72K.
What is KBA-France’s market position like today?
Michel Faust: At the end of 2014 our active press fleet consisted of approx. 200 Rapidas, 50 per cent of which are implemented in commercial printing companies and 50 per cent in packaging printing. Half of all the presses we have sold since 1994 were to new customers. We are particularly proud that over 90 per cent of our existing customers remain loyal to KBA. In today’s world this is not simply a matter of course. As the number of installed presses grew so did our internal organisation: we opened a second office in Lyon in 2004 and the number of employees has risen from eight in September 1994 to 35 today. After success in medium and large format over the last two decades, we will now focus more on the half-format segment. We are confident that we can secure a reasonable market share with the completely revised Rapida 75 even in the 50 x 70cm format sector. In 2014 two new Rapida 75 were fired up at printing houses in France: a Rapida 75-4+L at Bruno Calonne Imprimeur in Noeux-les-Mines, northern France and a Rapida 75-4 went to the Parisian hospitals in Charenton-le-Pont.
Which trends can be identified in the French market?
Michel Faust: We are seeing increasing demand for individual solutions with long and complex configurations in the high-end segment of the packaging market. Tailored solutions are specialty of KBA. Packaging operations with high print runs predominantly bank on high-speed Rapidas with non-stop systems and logistics. Some customers print at speeds of 20,000sph around the clock, such as the highly automated Rapidas 106-6+L at FP Pack (2013) and C.E.C. Carmaux (2014). There is a clear trends towards HR-UV and LED-UV technology in the commercial market. This is particularly true of longer presses with and without perfecting.
What do you expect from 2015?
Michel Faust: We are feeling optimistic despite the difficult economic situation in France at the moment. Thanks to KBA’s innovative role as technology leader in packaging it is our goal to hold onto and increase our market share in the crisis-ridden commercial printing sector. We have been a member of Impriclub, one of the most important French associations of commercial printers, since 2014 and have already won the trust of a host of prominent members, such as Pure Impression, Inore Groupe Impression, Zimmermann, Escourbiac, Korus Edition and Iapca. In addition, we are committed to continuing to provide our customers with a high quality, reliable and fast service.
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