KNAPP AG on track towards sustainable growth

Press information: Published on in Company, Locations, Technology

The past fiscal year was also a volatile year for KNAPP AG. After having to put almost all international projects on hold in the first quarter, a large workload in the succeeding period yielded a turnover of more than a billion euros. The good outcome for fiscal year 2020/21 allows the company to make significant investments for its continued growth and is opening up new job opportunities.

Growth despite the crisis: a strong second half

“In spring 2020 despite our full order books, we were forced to stop active projects and had to focus on weathering the exceptional situation. Up until autumn 2020, because of the investment uncertainties that our customers were facing, our long-term order intake amounted to less than 50 percent of the normal level. But then in the market, the willingness to invest started to rise again,” explains KNAPP CEO, Gerald Hofer. By the end of March 2021, the balance sheet showed a net turnover of 1.06 billion euros for the KNAPP group, at almost the same high level as the previous year (1.08 billion euros). The profit or loss on ordinary activities amounted to 84.5 million euros (previous year: 76 million euros). Net earnings after taxes were 59.2 million euros, or about 9 percent higher than in the previous fiscal year. At 1.8 billion euros, the order intake for the year under review reached a record high. In line with our business approach, KNAPP invested 54 million euros in innovation and has worldwide 800 employees working solely on new and further developments. Markets in central, northern and western Europe proved very strong. The North American region achieved the strongest growth, which was made possible by numerous new reference projects and the US subsidiary, which was expanded significantly. South America, Australia and Asia also experienced growth. Managing Board members Gerald Hofer, Franz Mathi and Christian Grabner are especially delighted at having been able to keep all the employees and, furthermore, to now be able to hire many new employees.

The KNAPP spirit in times of Corona

Together with their customers and employees, KNAPP has sailed through what is likely to be the most turbulent times in recent history. “Day by day, we are facing new challenges and meeting them with a solution-oriented approach,” says KNAPP COO, Franz Mathi. With an export quota of 95 percent, the company was especially affected by the travel restrictions. However, thanks to its well-established worldwide network, KNAPP was able to provide their customers with continuous support from 55 international locations. The company’s agility, company-wide solidarity, well-established digitalized work environment and, last but not least, the tremendous KNAPP spirit have all helped the company to navigate through the worldwide crisis. “Quick action and competent crisis committees made it possible for us to apply the appropriate measures quickly and comprehensively. Everyone’s contribution is important for us to be well-prepared for current and future challenges,” says Gerald Hofer.

Technology partner for value chains

Founded in 1952, KNAPP has its roots in Styria, Austria, where the company continues to have its home base. Once a two-person business, it is now a high-tech software and automation company, and a much sought-after partner for development worldwide. The success is based on the unique expertise in the demands facing different sectors. KNAPP provides assistance and support to their customers over many years, enabling them to quickly adapt to ongoing changes in the market by expanding their business models with flexible automation technologies. “The crisis put certain value chains such as the food retail or pharmaceutical sectors under enormous strain. We guided our customers through these peaks with our highly dynamic systems and our 24/7 service. This reliability and trust is now rewarding us with further orders,” reports KNAPP COO Franz Mathi. The more flexible the business model, the easier it was to manage the crisis: Many KNAPP customers had already expanded their brick and mortar retail with online shopping before 2020. KNAPP offers solutions to partner industries, ranging from production and distribution to the point of sale. Arvato/Douglas, Zalando, Garmin, Herba Chemosan and Woolworths are just a few of KNAPP’s well-known customers.

Woolworths, Australia’s largest supermarket chain, commissions KNAPP

To expand their online shopping service, Woolworths is implementing a separate fulfilment centre for 250 personal shoppers. Using KNAPP automation technology, Woolworths’ personal shoppers will be able to fulfil more than 50,000 online orders per week. The construction of the new warehouse will create another 440 jobs. The online orders will be prepared in the 20,000 m² fulfilment centre and delivered to the customers’ homes in a fast and very convenient manner. The strong growth in online retail – 92 percent from July to December 2020 – accelerated the expansion plans. At the moment, online sales already account for around 8 percent of Woolworths’ total turnover.

Outlook: Very good order situation creates new jobs

At the end of March 2021, KNAPP employed around 5,300 employees worldwide; 3,100 are working in Austria, and the number is rising. “In February we announced that we are looking for 1,000 new employees worldwide, 500 in Styria alone. We are excited about the very positive response and more than 4,000 applications. But we haven’t completed our search for more employees yet,” says KNAPP CFO Christian Grabner. “We are still searching for employees with skills in mechatronics, electrics, software, PLC programming and project management as well as for commissioning technicians who are willing to travel to our installations all over the world.” Further investments are being made to expand the company locations in Hart bei Graz, Leoben, Dobl, Raaba-Grambach and Klagenfurt. KNAPP is investing around 75 million euros in infrastructure and in the expansion of buildings and halls; around 50 percent of the growth is slated for the international locations.


KNAPP AG (corporation) 2020/21* Change 2019/20*
Turnover in million euros 1,060.61 – 1.8 % 1,080.11
Order intake in million euros 1,809.65 55.8 % 1,161.88
EBITDA in million euros 110.12 – 1.2 % 111.48
EBIT in million euros 79.15 – 4.9 % 83.25
EBT in million euros 84.52 11 % 76.14
Investitionen R&D 53.69 -5.8 % 56.98
Equity in million euros 238.86 23.1 % 194.1
Employees 5,286 6 % 4,985

*Business year April 1 to March 31