Automation expert focuses on open innovation and on-device AI

KEBA impresses with innovation and diversification in a challenging market environment

In the past financial year, the strategic fundament of the KEBA Group, namely the diversification of the business into different markets and industries, once again proved to be a solid and stable basis for the international company.

With 26 branches in 16 countries and production sites in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and China, KEBA benefits from its strong international network and is well established in its markets.

Three operational business units together form the company group with headquarters in Linz/Urfahr and operate under the common brand KEBA - Industrial Automation, Handover Automation and Energy Automation. The characteristics of the business units differ significantly from one another.

KEBA Industrial Automation has its sales focus as a partner of machine and plant manufacturers in the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) sector, KEBA Handover Automation is primarily active in the project business with the production of self-service machines and KEBA Energy Automation is in the end customer-oriented series business with its wallboxes for electric vehicles and heating control systems.

In general, KEBA benefits from the range and diversity of its business areas, which serve different sectors in different international markets and are therefore subject to different economic cycles.

The last financial year was characterized by well-known challenges such as high inflation, rising costs for components and personnel, high energy prices, uncertainties caused by the war in Ukraine and economic weaknesses in some sectors, and was correspondingly demanding.

Economic environment shapes business performance

The KEBA Group, headquartered in Linz, generated revenue of € 474.6 million in the past financial year (April 2023 - March 2024). The average annual growth over the last 5 years is 9.3% (CAGR) despite a cyclical decline in sales in the past financial year. Compared to business developments in similar sectors and in the economic context, KEBA is not dissatisfied with the trend of business in all three business segments in the past financial year.

Overall, the KEBA Group was able to increase its market share in a dynamic and difficult economic environment, particularly in Europe, and to expand its presence by acquiring new customers. KEBA products and solutions are in demand, as they meet the market requirements and needs resulting from advancing automation and digitalization in all industries and the demographic shift. This positive development affects all business areas, as the company was able to acquire new customers and new projects in the past financial year, which will have a positive impact on the further development of business and the growth of the company in the coming years.

In Europe, for example, the presence in the French market was further expanded and strengthened. Europe's second-largest economy has significant potential for the automation expert. KEBA has been active in the French market for some time with charging solutions for electric vehicles and has also been active in France in the field of intelligent transfer solutions as well. Leading French machine manufacturers are also showing strong interest in KEBA's portfolio of control systems and drives for machines and robots.

In the important Asian market, the demand for KEBA solutions can be described as stable. KEBA has been a well-known brand in Asia for many years in the field of machine and robot controls and drives as well as hand-held operating devices.

In the last financial year, well-known customers from the plastics, robotics and general machine manufacture sectors were acquired. KEBA has subsidiaries in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and India. At the main Asian location in Shanghai, which is also the production site for the continent, production capacities were expanded in the last financial year in line with the "local for local" approach in order to be able to serve the continuously growing market accordingly.

In India, one of the fastest-growing markets in Asia, the market presence of the Industrial Automation division was also further expanded. KEBA has been active on the Indian subcontinent with its control solutions for machines and robots since 2010. The establishment of a subsidiary in Pune, a major industrial center near Mumbai, in 2018 was a response to the dynamic growth of the Indian market and the resulting potential for KEBA. Technologies from Europe and Asia are of great interest to India's export-oriented companies and KEBA enjoys an excellent reputation with its innovative and high-quality products and solutions.

In summary, the KEBA Industrial Automation business segment was characterized by the economically weak demand in the European mechanical engineering environment. However, important strategic new customers and projects were acquired during the year, which will have a positive impact on future business development. In the KEBA Handover Automation division, the successful cooperation with European parcel service providers and their large-scale rollouts of parcel pick-up stations, the continuing demand for KEBA ATMs and the rollout of a European lottery project generated positive growth.

In the KEBA Energy Automation segment, the previous year's trend continued for several months. In the eMobility segment, the demand for charging stations remained at a low level due to the reduction of stocks in the retail sector and the ongoing uncertainty regarding subsidies for e-mobility, particularly in the important German market. Since the beginning of the calendar year, this market started recovering and there is a corresponding increase in the demand.

Unfortunately, this positive trend cannot yet be seen in the heating market, which is important for the energy transition and in which KEBA is an important partner for manufacturers of biomass heating systems and heat pumps with its control systems.

KEBA Gruppe
Turnover million EURO
Employees Group (FTE)2125213019631750
R&D17 %13,7 %13 %14,8 %
International Business89 %87 %90 %90 %

The share of international business remained almost unchanged high at 89%. Around 65% of sales were generated in the EU (excluding Austria) and around 14% in Asia.

In the past financial year, the KEBA Group employed 2,125 people on a full-time equivalent basis. A good half of the employees work in Austria, a third in Germany and around 200 employees in Asia.

AI-based innovations strengthen KEBA's competitiveness

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 in a constantly changing global business environment. Accordingly, the KEBA Group invests a significant proportion of its turnover in research and development (R&D) every year. In the last financial year, KEBA invested € 80.8 million in the new and further development of its products and solutions. This corresponds to an R&D ratio of 17%.

The new potential offered by the use of artificial intelligence in automation solutions, together with the management of demographic change through smart assistants and self-service terminals, form the focus of the KEBA Group's innovation activities.

Two significant milestones were achieved in the past financial year. Firstly, the first AI module was presented as part of the KEBA Industrial Automation portfolio, which now enables partners to use artificial intelligence directly on machines without using the cloud. This so-called on-device AI application increases both security and flexibility in the industrial use of artificial intelligence.

Secondly, the first 'Amt-O- Mats', i.e. KEBA citizen service terminals, were put into operation in the German district of Mayen-Koblenz to enable official channels and the handover of ID cards and other personal documents around the clock for the first time.

In addition, based on successful pilots in the bank foyers of German savings banks, the decision was made to transfer the innovative AI-based assistant KeBob from prototype to series production.

Furthermore, a milestone was reached in the field of energy automation with the market launch of the new wallbox generation KEBA KeContact P40, which will further support the international growth of the business segment established in 2009.

KEBA focuses on open innovation - 4000 visitors to the KEBA InnoSpace within a year

KEBA has always worked together with numerous renowned research institutes, universities and technical colleges as well as start-ups in the field of research and development and also shares information with international expert committees on an ongoing basis. As a result, KEBA has an innovation network with a wide range of knowledge and experience that extends far beyond the company's borders and strengthens the Group's innovative power.

In the age of global networking and rapid technological progress, this 'open innovation' approach plays a key role in the development of new products and services. In order to promote this even more strongly, KEBA has created a space - the so-called KEBA InnoSpace - which, thanks to its concept, is an ideal setting for open innovation. In this physical space, prototypes are shown and demonstrated based on specific use cases, and scenarios of the future are presented, which provide the opportunity for a general exchange about the development of different industries and sectors of life. In this way, demonstrations are used to illustrate the future topics on which KEBA is working so that visitors can reflect on them as well as get actively involved. In the spirit of open innovation, the InnoSpace enables people with a wide range of backgrounds, opinions and knowledge to come together and contribute their own ideas to the KEBA innovation process.

A total of 4,000 visitors have visited the KEBA InnoSpace in the one year since it opened. The spectrum of visitors includes long-standing customers and partners, interested parties in the course of initiating business, technical experts, students, pupils and visitors to the recently held Long Night of Research 2024.

50 years of apprenticeship training as a success factor

KEBA has been training apprentices since 1974 - that's 50 years. By training young people, KEBA ensures the next generation of skilled workers on the one hand and fulfills its social responsibility on the other. The training, which follows a rotation principle with different stations, provides a comprehensive insight into different departments and specialist areas and the apprentices are integrated into the operational business from the very beginning. Individual training and further education also promote their professional and personal development.

Around 260 apprentices have been trained at KEBA over the past 50 years. The takeover rate is almost 100% and many stay with the company for a long time as highly qualified and committed employees, the so-called "KEBAner".

More than 50 apprentices are currently being trained in six different technical and commercial professions at the Linz site. The professional fields range from electronics, information technology, operational logistics, office, purchasing to application development. Other locations are also developing their own specialists, for example in Germany, where around 20 young people are also being trained in various professions.

A new apprenticeship in application development - coding was launched two years ago to meet the demand for skilled workers in the wake of digitalization through in-house training measures and has seen an enormous uptake.

Change in the chairmanship of the Supervisory Board of KEBA Group AG

Gerhard Luftensteiner, the long-standing CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of KEBA, retired from his operational role at the end of September 2023. He became Chairman of the Supervisory Board of KEBA Group AG in June 2024.

In this role, he follows KEBA co-founder Karl Kletzmaier, who held this position for over 24 years. Karl Kletzmaier is appointed Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board of KEBA Group AG.

Since October 2023, Christoph Knogler as CEO and Spokesman of the Management Board, Franz Höller as CTO and Andreas Schoberleitner as CFO have formed the Management Board team of KEBA Group AG.

In September 2024, co-owner Franz Höller will also retire from his operational role as Chief Technology Officer after 18 years. Christoph Knogler and Andreas Schoberleitner will then shape the direction of the KEBA Group as a two-member Executive Board together with the managing directors of the operating units and will continue to successfully drive the company's development.


KEBA is diversified with its three business segments and operates exclusively in growth markets. The Group assumes that there will be continued demand for automation solutions and that there is further potential for growth. The company is therefore constantly investing in research and development. Internationalization is also being driven forward in order to expand the global KEBA network. The aim is to open up new markets and to expand KEBA's technological and innovative strength even further for the benefit of its customers. As in previous years, KEBA anticipates a certain basic dynamic in the market in the coming financial year, but is prepared for this with an organization that is able to adapt quickly to changing conditions.


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Photo rights: KEBA

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KEBA - Automation by innovation.