Business development fiscal year 2022/2023
The share of international business remained almost unchanged at 87% , with around 64% being shipped to the EU (excluding Austria) and around 13% to Asia.
Turnover million EURO
|Employees Group (FTE)||2050||1963||1750||1732|
|R&D||13.7 %||13 %||14.8 %||16.6 %|
|International Business Share||87 %||90 %||90 %||88 %|
For a technology company like KEBA, research and development is of central importance for the future success of the company and for its technological positioning on the market. Accordingly, the KEBA Group invests a significant portion of its sales in research and development (R&D) each year. The expenditure for R&D increased by around 5 million € and amounted to 75.7 million € last year.
The number of employees of the KEBA Group in the past fiscal year amounted to approximately 2050 employees (FTE) on the basis of full-time employment. A good half of the employees are employed in Austria, one third in Germany and around 200 employees in Asia.
At the Linz site, more than 40 apprentices are currently being trained in six different professions. A new apprenticeship is Applications Development - Coding, which aims to meet the demand for skilled workers in the course of digitalization through in-house training measures. The company also trains its own skilled workers at other sites, such as in Germany, where it also trains around 20 young people in various professions.
26 branches in 16 countries worldwide
With 26 branches in 16 countries worldwide and a number of production sites of varying sizes in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and China, the Group has a distinctive, transnational network and is strongly anchored in its markets and close to its customers. In addition, a dedicated office was opened in Vienna at the beginning of 2023. With this, KEBA wants to primarily address and attract specialists such as application engineers and software developers in this region.
In general, KEBA benefits from the breadth and diversity of its business areas, which serve different industries and are subject to different economic cycles. The general conditions were not easy and very challenging due to high inflation, rising component costs, high energy prices and the uncertainties caused by the Ukraine war in the last business year.
Three strategic business areas as a guarantee for growth
The KEBA Group has three operational business areas: Industrial Automation, Handover Automation and Energy Automation, which have been organized into independent companies for more than a year. This enables KEBA to serve the various industries with their different market requirements in an even more targeted manner.
The three business areas have different characteristics. Industrial Automation focuses on the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) sector, Handover Automation is active in the project business with the production of self-service machines, and Energy Automation is a series business close to the end customer with its wallboxes for e-cars and heating control systems.
The companies operate jointly under the strong KEBA brand and utilize the synergies of the group. KEBA Group AG is responsible for the overall orientation of the KEBA Group as well as its strategic and financial management.
Material supply also demanded KEBA
The supply of materials in the electronics sector was again challenging in the first half of the past fiscal year. KEBA clearly focused on being able to deliver. An internal task force, which was already installed at the beginning of 2021, was continuously involved in optimizing the supply according to the circumstances and finding appropriate solutions together with suppliers and customers. Once again, KEBA's agile working method and flat organization proved to be very helpful here, because decisions could be made quickly. In this way, material availability and thus production supply could be largely ensured. However, this was also achieved through purchases at higher prices and in some cases adjustments to the products, so-called redesigns, were necessary due to the unavailability of components.
KEBA's reputation with its customers was once again enhanced.
After a turbulent period, the electronics market has been easing for several months, supply chains are stabilizing and availability is improving or delivery times are becoming shorter. However, price levels remain high - energy prices and inflation continue to keep costs up. Despite the improvements, the supply chain remains a critical issue and continues to require appropriate monitoring.
KEBA invested 75.7 million € in the new- and further development of its products and solutions.
Research and development
In the last business year, KEBA invested 75.7 million € in the new and further development of its products and solutions.
Continuous investment in research and development (R&D) not only promotes technological progress, but also strengthens competitiveness and ensures long-term growth as well as future viability in a constantly changing global business environment.
A major focus in the past year was on the topic of artificial intelligence. The development of a dedicated KEBA AI module or the use of AI in predictive maintenance and in machine optimization are some examples of its application. Other focal points of development included, for example, human-robot coexistence, a safety platform for machine and robot controls or automats that enable forward-looking digital services. Investments were also made in the development of an app for charging at KEBA wallboxes and in a digital platform. The wallbox portfolio was expanded to include a PV edition for optimized excess PV charging and a so-called company car wallbox, which enables the correct billing of electricity charged at home with the employer.
Breadth and diversity as long-term stabilizers
In Industrial Automation, fiscal 22/23 was characterized by strong demand. At the same time, the effects of the chip crisis continued to be felt, which was managed with extraordinary personnel and financial efforts.
The fact that KEBA Industrie Automation managed to remain capable of delivering despite the dynamic environment - high inflation, rising component costs and energy prices, uncertainties caused by the Ukraine war - earned a corresponding reputation on the market. As a result, a number of interesting companies in various countries were convinced by KEBA and its automation solutions and acquired as new customers. The fact that the situation in China has eased again due to the opening after the pandemic is also positive. The opportunity to participate in trade fairs again and thus intensify contacts with existing customers or acquire new customers supports the worldwide sales initiatives.
Handover Automation is a classic project business with its ATMs and parcel or transfer machines. Overall, interest in parcellocker machine solutions remains high. The new types of parcellockers from KEBA with app operation were well received by the market. In addition, it was possible to win follow-up orders from important customers and to expand market shares overall. KEBA sees potential for further growth in click & collect applications in retail.
KEBA also notices increasing demand for automatic transfer machines, in which items can be clearly recognized and identified on the basis of an RFID chip. They help to automate and digitalize workflows and handling processes. The area of application of such parcellockers is, for example, in textile management in the healthcare sector, or in production for the handover of tools, as well as in the management or handover and return of vehicle keys.
In the banking automation sector, KEBA asserts itself as a strong local partner of financial institutions. Customers appreciate KEBA's technological know-how, decades of experience and, above all, its stability. After a large rollout at a major German bank, the company was able to win several tenders and new customers, which will take effect over the next few years due to the project-based business.
KEBA Energy Automation is one of the leading manufacturers of wallboxes. Active in this sector for 15 years, the KEBA business area is one of the pioneers of charging solutions for electric vehicles. In addition to the well-known wallboxes, KEBA also offers software solutions for the operation and load management of the same. With its charging solutions, KEBA relies on cooperation with energy suppliers and mobility providers as well as, above all, electricians and installation companies.
In order to drive the decarbonization of mobility, there have been corresponding subsidies in many European countries in recent years - both for vehicles and for infrastructure. This led to a sales turbo in the area of wallboxes. KEBA also took advantage of this development. While the period from 2021 to mid-2022 was characterized by reducing delivery times and being able to deliver accordingly due to the enormous demand for wallboxes, a significant flattening of demand was felt from the second half of 2022.
One of the main drivers of this development was that subsidies for electromobility were not continued as originally announced or new ones were adopted, such as the large KfW440 subsidy in Germany. While the subsidy pushed the expansion and demand for charging infrastructure accordingly, the opposite is now happening - customers, especially in the private sector, are waiting with their purchase decisions. KEBA also felt these effects.
Independently of this, investments are being made in a new product generation and internationalization is being pursued. In order to help new technologies and projects, such as the energy turnaround, to achieve a breakthrough and to fundamentally enable this change, start-up funding is often needed. For companies investing in these areas, it is important to be able to rely on a certain stability of the funding landscape and investment security. Regardless of this, from KEBA's point of view, there is no way around sustainable technologies. Like the entire automotive industry, KEBA is also committed to e-mobility and is thus on the move in a future market.
New management team will continue on the road to success
Generation change in the KEBA Group Executive Board
As planned, the long-standing CEO and Chairman of the Board of KEBA, Gerhard Luftensteiner, will retire from his operational function at the end of September due to his retirement and will move to the Supervisory Board as a KEBA co-owner.
As a result, KEBA already set the personnel course for the future in the spring and appointed Christoph Knogler, previous managing director of KEBA's Energy Automation business area, as a new member of the Executive Board. He will take up this position on August 1, 2023.
Christoph Knogler, who has been with KEBA since 2020, was previously able to make a good name for himself as a successful manager in various industrial companies. As managing director of KEBA Energy Automation, he had the opportunity to get to know KEBA holistically and brings both high technical expertise and continuity for a sustainable and successful further development of KEBA.
CFO Andreas Schoberleitner has already been a member of the board of the internationally active technology company since April 1, 2021. Prior to joining KEBA in October 2020, Andreas Schoberleitner held executive positions in finance and accounting at international industrial companies.
As of October 1, 2023, Christoph Knogler as CEO and speaker of the Management Board, Franz Höller in the function of CTO and Andreas Schoberleitner as CFO will form the new Management Board team of KEBA Group AG and will jointly shape the direction of KEBA and its further successful development.
CEO Gerhard Luftensteiner looks back on a successful decade with a fourfold increase in turnover
Gerhard Luftensteiner worked successfully for KEBA for a total of 40 years - of which 25 years were spent in management and since 2006 as KEBA's CEO. He had a decisive influence on KEBA in terms of strategy, organization and economic development.
40 years of successful work for KEBA
Internationalization and the ongoing expansion of the market presence to ensure KEBA's success in the long term were a major concern for him. KEBA is represented worldwide with 26 locations in 16 countries and has production sites in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and China.
The last 10 years have also seen a number of strategic acquisitions that have contributed to the growth of the group and the expansion of the portfolio. An important milestone was the decision in 2009 to enter the field of electromobility, which was still in its infancy at the time, and to establish a new business area - Energy Automation with a focus on charging solutions.
Gerhard Luftensteiner was also the initiator and co-designer of KEBA's agile, flat and low-hierarchy organizational form, which has a high ability to change in order to continue to be successful in an increasingly dynamic and volatile world (VUCA world). Together with his fellow board member Franz Höller and the KEBA team, Gerhard Luftensteiner has massively driven the economic development of the company and also successfully steered KEBA through dynamic times such as the financial crisis of 2008/2009 or the Corona pandemic. Sales have quadrupled in the last 10 years. The number of employees also grew strongly: today, the KEBA Group has around 1,200 more employees than 10 years ago.
In principle, KEBA is broadly positioned with its three business areas and is active in growth markets. It is assumed that there is a corresponding demand for automation solutions from KEBA and that there is further growth potential. To this end, the company is continuously investing in internationalization and research and development, as well as in long-term projects such as the KEBA Technology Park in Linz. As in recent years, the company is again expecting a certain basic market dynamic, but is in principle prepared to quickly adapt to changing conditions.
The planning of the additional location in the south of Linz (A) - the KEBA Technology Park - is progressing. The total area of the property acquired in 2021 is around 100,000 m2. The plan is to build office and production areas in stages. Last year, an architectural competition was held for this purpose. Criteria such as functionality, quality, energy efficiency, sustainability and cost-effectiveness played a role. The planning team is currently working on the preliminary design. The further course of the project or the start of construction depends on the progress of the authorities' approval phase, as well as on the market situation and the development of construction prices.
Where the group of companies wants to develop in the long term and sees its fields of action, it has recorded in its Vision 2030. It is clear that the internationalization will be further advanced and the global KEBA network will be expanded. The goal is also to open up new markets and to further expand KEBA's technological and innovative strength for the benefit of its customers. Particular attention is also being paid to the topic of people and the further development of the agile organizational form. And the topic of sustainability also plays a central role - to the point that the company aims to be climate-neutral by 2030. Overall, KEBA is optimistic about the future.
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Photo rights: KEBA