KBA sales reveal newspaper decimation

German press giant KBA has given an insight into the parlous state of the global newspaper industry, with its CEO revealing that newspaper and commercial web sales are down by four fifths compared to those from a decade ago.

In 2006 KBA sold $2bn worth of web presses, the majority of them to newspaper houses. A decade later and the total figure is barely $400m, as newspapers in the developed world close down, merge, or downsize, like the main two Aussie metro papers.

Web presses back in 2006 represented some two thirds of KBA’s sales, today they are little more than 10 per cent. It is in sheetfed packaging presses that KBA has become the dominant player, and it now represents some 70 per cent of group sales.

The company has now grouped digital and web together as a stand-alone business unit, as it develops hybrid presses – it has the Rotajet digital inkjet press co-developed with RR Donnolley initially for commercial print, but which is now finding success in niche markets including laminates and décor, and the giant 2.8m wide corrugated digital inkjet press co-developed with HP.

It has three other divisions; sheetfed solutions, special printing (banknotes, flexibles, glass and suchlike), and industrial solutions where it offers its engineering expertise to non-print applications. The company is now back in the black with CEO Claus Bolza-Schunemann expressing optimism for the future.

KBA will have a 3000sqm stand in its usual Hall 16 at drupa which will have all its digital and packaging presses on show.

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