Logistics automation specialist, KNAPP AG, has announced business results that show its most successful year since it was established in 1952. In the year to 31st March 2018, the company recorded an increase in net revenue of 12.3 per cent from 631.9 to 709.6 million euros. Order volume for the KNAPP group increased by 32 per cent to 926 million euros, while profit grew by 29.8 per cent, generating 45.2 million euros.
The Managing Board of KNAPP AG – Gerald Hofer (CEO), Franz Mathi (COO) and Christian Grabner (CFO) – is delighted with the group’s success and ascribes the increase in turnover to the company’s innovative spirit. “We’re extremely pleased with the success of the past business year,” commented Gerald Hofer, CEO, “which once again showed a sustainable increase in turnover as well as profit. Thanks to the commitment of our teams across over 35 sites worldwide, we achieved a record order intake of 926 million euros – a success that underlines our position on the market and enables us to increase our budget for research and development from 38 to over 40 million euros and take further important steps that point the way to the future.”
Further growth and investment planned
The business year 2018/19 will focus on further investment in human resources and infrastructure. Over 300 new employees become members of the KNAPP family every year – 150 at the headquarters in Hart bei Graz, Austria, alone – and this employee growth will continue. “We want to highlight the excellent career prospects our company offers graduates with technical qualifications as well as career-changers,” explained Franz Mathi, COO. “As part of this, we are exploring new avenues and are going to places where there is extraordinarily high potential. Just one example is the planning office we have opened at Lakeside Park in Klagenfurt.”
Employee growth demands improved infrastructure and KNAPP will invest around 55 million euros in site expansions and IT infrastructure on both a regional and international level. “Besides the construction currently underway for an innovation centre – complete with showroom and around 500 office workstations – at the headquarters in Hart bei Graz, our sites in Dobl and Leoben will also undergo further expansion,” continued Mathi. “International growth will be ensured by the new US headquarters in Atlanta and investment in the UK as well as in Germany and South America, among other measures.”
New companies under the KNAPP umbrella
KNAPP continues to expand its competencies in control technology and concentrates its expertise, experience and synergies through the acquisition of participating interests and, sometimes, the complete integration of companies. For instance, KNAPP expanded its share of the KHT / Apostore Group to 100% at the beginning of this year. Apostore develops and manufactures pharmaceutical autopickers for pharmacies, hospitals and wholesalers, so KNAPP now offers solutions throughout the pharma supply chain – right up to pharmacy counters. In addition, KHT’s devices for weighing and measuring articles are ideal additions to the product portfolio.
Since the autumn of 2017, KNAPP AG has also had a majority share in ISS-Automation. Based in Gronau, Germany, the company develops control and software solutions for sortation systems – particularly those used by couriers and parcel service providers – thereby complementing KNAPP’s expertise in high-performance sorting solutions.
Innovation and sustainable company development
Market and customer requirements that change dynamically in the light of digitalization, the booming e-commerce sector or the Internet of Things call for a high degree of flexibility and scalability, as well as an unprecedented level of perfectionism in the automation and management of storage and production processes. KNAPP’s response to this technological shift is its commitment to innovation, which puts it in a strong position for the future.
“A crucial factor is the commitment to sustainable company development on the part of our owners,” explained Christian Grabner, CFO. “It’s what allows us to invest the majority of the profit in the company, continue to expand our 35 international sites, invest in training for our employees and actively promote research and development. Because of all these positive measures, we can bring new innovations with tangible added value for our customers onto the market, combining high-end technology with our specialized knowledge of industry sectors and thereby designing optimum, bespoke system solutions. This comprehensive package of services,” continued Grabner, “makes us a very appealing employer. We have the best team and are still able to get the best brains in the business excited about KNAPP to ensure our company grows and continues to develop.”