Success story for KNAPP AG with all-time high in turnover and number of employees

Press information: Published on in Company

The Styrian KNAPP AG increased its record turnover of last year and, with March 31, 2013 reported a turnover of approx. 380 million euros. The company’s workforce increased by 200 persons and now counts 2,300 members of staff, of which 1,700 are employed in Austria. The warehouse logistics specialist enhanced its position on the market in its core business areas of pharmaceuticals, fashion, general retail & lifestyle, food retail as well as tools & spares. Research & development ranks high at KNAPP: again the business invested around 6 percent of its turnover.

(Hart/Graz, July 11, 2013) If they are looking for highly-efficient intralogistics solutions, leading businesses such as the Würth Group or lifestyle corporations such as Hugo Boss or Celio rely on KNAPP systems. Despite its internationality and an export quota of 98%, the company with its headquarters in Hart bei Graz has kept its strong roots in Austria for 60 years and increased its workforce worldwide by about 40% in the past four years. In the past fiscal year, the change of leadership on the Managing Board stands for the beginning of a new era: The CEO of many years Eduard Wünscher, switched to the Supervisory Board. The Management Team Gerald Hofer, Franz Mathi and Christian Grabner will carry on the success story. This can be seen not only in the full order books – turnover in fiscal year 2012/13 increased by 16% to around 380 million euros – but also in the continuously growing number of employees. The company achieved an EBIT of 14.7 million euros for the year in review. “We are looking back at a very successful business year with many new references and exciting innovations. In addition we are highly pleased about the highest operative results in company history and have set the course for success in the future with our strategy programme for 2020“, KNAPP CEO Gerald Hofer concludes.

Highest number of employees
The KNAPP Group employs 2,300 members of staff worldwide. This historically high figure in personnel resulted from the strong organic growth of the year in review. “KNAPP is a very innovative company. We operate in an exciting and challenging environment. Besides the international nature of the business, we offer interesting opportunities for development, stability and comprehensive social benefits“, CFO Christian Grabner states.

Technological lead expanded further
The group invested more than 6 percent of the turnover or 23.5 million euros in its research and development activities. In the KNAPP Group, more than 400 people worked on new and further developments in the past fiscal year. COO Franz Mathi: “Intralogistics and our solutions are influenced significantly by the purchasing behaviour of consumers. From the classic branch store to internet commerce, the number of sales channels is continuously growing and the availability of sales items has become more and more important. The market calls for flexible systems suited to serve various trade channels. Our opinion is that, with our solutions surrounding the basic OSR Shuttle™ technology, we can flexibly adapt to growing and changing market demands. For the British department chain stores John Lewis and Boots, for example, we implemented trendsetting automation solutions.“

Investment in the Austrian locations
For more than 30 years, the headquarters of the KNAPP AG, founded in 1952, have been situated in Hart bei Graz, Austria. The successful growth and the related continuous development throughout the years have shaped the location. “In Graz alone we will expand the business location by 14,000 sqm. Additional facility buildings and office space will be ready by the end of 2013 and a new company day care centre will open in September. The company is also investing in its location in Leoben: the construction of testing and prototype facilities as well as a company cafeteria is in progress”, says CFO Christian Grabner. Expansion of the location and strengthening the subsidiaries is an important step in the KNAPP history of success in terms of economy, organization and above all sustainability, and lays the cornerstone for healthy future growth.

98% export quota – increase in turnover by 80% in the fashion segment
With a share of turnover of more than 70%, Western Europe is the largest sales region, followed by the region North America in which turnover more than doubled. Latin America remained very stable, while the turnover tripled in the Asia-Pacific economic region. China, South Korea and Australia especially contributed to this growth. The fashion business area had a disproportionally high contribution to the growth, showing an increase in turnover by 80% compared to the previous year. The large-scale projects in the fashion area include the automation of the distribution centres for Hugo Boss and Olymp with an order volume that runs into the tens of millions.

Forecast for fiscal year 2013/2014: Sustainability, organic growth
The new team on the Managing Board has ambitious targets. Besides the comprehensive development on the location in Hart bei Graz and Leoben, the company aims at doubling its turnover by 2020. “The new year started positive from the very beginning. In the future we also want to have a strong focus on food retail. We offer special solutions for this sector: for example, a fully-automatic KNAPP sorting solution is in operation at trinkgut, a 100 % subsidiary of Edeka. This system ensures that every day, 100,000 beverage cases are automatically registered, sorted and made ready for dispatch to beverage producers.