On 1 January KBA-GIORI S.A. in Lausanne changed its name to KBA-NotaSys SA. Previously called De La Rue Giori S.A., this leading global consultancy specialising in the distribution and development of security presses was taken over in 2001 by German press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA) following a long and successful collaborative alliance, and was renamed KBA-GIORI S.A.
The new name, KBA-NotaSys, refers to the company's Italian heritage through "Nota" which means banknote in Italian. "Sys" reflects the unique systems competence KBA's Swiss subsidiary boasts in press design, pre-press and all the challenging technological processes involved in manufacturing and finishing forgery-proof banknotes. The name also echoes the systems that have inspired the confidence and trust of banknote printers the world over for the past 50 years or more.
Gualtiero Giori founded the company in the early 1950s following the invention of multicolour intaglio printing and simultaneous offset perfecting printing, and his alliance with Koenig & Bauer in Würzburg dates back to those early days. The two processes proved ideal for printing counterfeit-sensitive products such as banknotes and securities. At that time KBA handled press engineering and manufacturing, along with the attendant security and logistics systems. The Swiss company focused on international sales and distribution, customer advice, the development of counterfeit-proof banknotes and cross-platform process technology. This highly successful division of labour enabled the two parties to dominate the sector. Long before Koenig & Bauer's acquisition of Giori almost ten years ago, Koebau-Giori-DeLaRue presses were printing around 90 per cent of the world's banknotes.
Following the addition of this banknote specialist to the KBA group the internal division of labour was intensified and KBA-GIORI's technical resources in Lausanne were systematically expanded, particularly those relating to customer support and training, and to banknote development and security, with their increasing complexity. Existing product lines were upgraded on an ongoing basis and new ones created. Press engineering remained in Würzburg.
In September 2009 the company relocated to a new, state-of-the-art facility in Avenue du Grey, Lausanne, which offers the 180-strong workforce and customers from all over the world an ideal environment for driving advances in banknote design and counterfeit protection, and for effective user training.
Contrary to widespread opinion, banknotes have not been superseded by electronic cash and online banking. In fact global demand for new banknotes has risen in recent years. Alongside a rapid increase in cash points, which will not accept worn or damaged notes, demand has been driven by dynamic growth and rising prosperity in many densely populated threshold countries. And whereas the recent economic crisis, the subsequent slump in advertising and the ongoing transition in the media arena have had a severe impact on major markets such as commercial and newspaper printing, security printing has come through relatively unscathed. KBA-NotaSys exemplifies the successful strategy pursued by KBA –now the world's second-biggest press manufacturer – of combining niche and volume products. As a competence centre for security printing its future prospects look bright.