Koenig & Bauer AG, Würzburg, held its 98th annual general meeting in physical form for the first time in three years due to the pandemic situation, meeting with great enthusiasm from investors. In his speech, Chairman of the Supervisory Board Prof Raimund Klinkner stated that the company still had a long way to go towards reaching its goal and that metamorphosis, as a process of constant change, was the key to growth and success. He went on to say that “embedded in the Exceeding Print strategy, the three pillars of sustainability, digitisation and modularity, which mutually reinforce each other, form the best possible basis for a successful future for the company”.
In the Supervisory Board’s report, Klinkner outlined the main areas of activity in which, in addition to strategic issues for further development, the sustainability of the company plays a particularly important role. The procedure for integrating sustainability within the business strategy as part of the ESG roadmap, the sustainability goals defined and the related ESG opportunities and risks had been discussed in detail on the Supervisory Board.
At the Vogel Convention Center in Würzburg, the company set up an interactive experience for its investors with the motto, ‘Everyday in your hand’ to highlight the variety of different substrates used by Koenig & Bauer in printing. The focus was on the large ampersand that forms the middle element of Koenig & Bauer’s logo. Assembled by the vocational school specifically for this occasion, it features all the substrates that can be used for printing by the systems produced by the company. The ampersand symbolises the link between two equal parts: combining the best of both worlds has been one of Koenig & Bauer’s characteristic that it has been demonstrating consistently over more than 200 years. The company links colours and substrates, people and technologies as well as the analogue and the digital world.
A total of 59 per cent of the voting capital was present in person or by proxy at the annual general meeting, resulting in a comparatively high attendance rate. The company’s shareholders were asked to vote on eight of the nine items on the agenda at the annual general meeting. Reflecting a general trend in the capital market, one of the items concerned the adjustment of the term of office of the Supervisory Board members in a motion that was duly passed. In addition, the shareholders ratified the actions of the Management Board and the Supervisory Board nearly unanimously and approved the remuneration report. A resolution permitting annual general meetings to be held in virtual form was also passed, thus creating the legal basis for this.
The shareholders elected Claus Bolza-Schünemann to the Supervisory Board with a majority of 99.9 per cent. Bolza-Schünemann had been a member of Koenig & Bauer AG’s Management Board for 28 years, including nine years as CEO. With his broad expertise, he has shaped the print media industry significantly over the years, setting the pace for successful technological advances in the Koenig & Bauer range. He is considered to be a visionary of the graphic industry and has always been closely associated with the company as the great-great-grandson of its founder.
Once again, a trailer was shown at the beginning of this year’s annual general meeting, summarizing in a light-hearted manner the message in the speech by CEO Andreas Pleßke: “The future is decided now”. In his speech, Pleßke also highlighted the opportunities that the company can leverage in the face of growing globalisation and the trend towards “nearshoring”, explaining why synergies, cross-selling and keeping track of the entire value chain are becoming increasingly important. He also addressed the problem of the inverted age pyramid and how Koenig & Bauer, as a technology group, is positioning itself in the competition for motivated and well-trained specialists. In this connection, he mentioned various initiatives such as new training courses at the vocational school, the pilot 4-day/35h week project and the construction of the daycare centre at the Würzburg site.
Chief Financial Officer Stephen Kimmich emphasised that the company had delivered on its full-year 2022 operating figures and achieved its own targets, even exceeding them with EBIT of €22m. He also outlined the figures for the first quarter of 2023 in the context of the confirmed forecast. Koenig & Bauer expects Group revenue of around €1.3bn for 2023, accompanied by an EBIT margin of roughly 3 per cent.