Press giant bemoans drop in sales

GLOBAL printing press leader Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA) has revealed a bleak picture of its industry, lamenting that key export markets have fallen dramatically in the last quarter. Market conditions have resulted in 400 workers being laid off.

The Germany-based company said its sales volumes had dropped by more than $A300 million. Its sheet fed business was hardest hit with a 15.8 percent drop is in revenue compared with the corresponding period last year. Web and special presses were almost 10 percent down.

KBA said “many customers” had been “postponing projects”, adding that “newspaper web presses has fallen well short of expectations”.

“Management is hoping the mounting uncertainty induced by the economic recession will ease in the next few months, and that demand for presses will pick up again as a result,” the company said in a statement. Further retrenchments were possible, it said.

Web press production redundancies meant that it was unlikely further cuts in this area were likely. KBA said that when the economy did recover, finding staff with the necessary skills to meet renewed demand would be difficult.

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