FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany—Munich's KraussMaffei Group GmbH expects a strong finish to 2018 despite slower growth in recent months, CEO Frank Stieler said Oct. 17 at the German machinery maker's Fakuma news conference.
As of September, sales for 2018 are $1.12 billion, marking an increase of $17.3 million or 1.6 percent over last year during the same period. Incoming orders in the first three quarters of the year are at roughly $1.2 billion.
"We expect growth to continue, but to be less pronounced than previous years," Stieler said, adding that the company is still seeing steady growth in China, while other markets are "more sluggish."
Stieler also provided an update on KraussMaffei's planned listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, which is currently under review by Chinese authorities.
"The approval process in China is much more intense," he said, adding the group is confident it can get approval by the end of the year.
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which owns the machinery maker, said in December it would list KraussMaffei on the Shanhai Stock Exchange. ChemChina will remain a majority shareholder after the listing, Stieler said.
Dedication to digital
KraussMaffei also is defining its digital footprint with the launch of a two-pillar strategy it's calling "Compass," which includes the recently established digital service solutions unit.
"We define our own path forward," Stieler said. "'Compass' means the strength we have in our company (that) we want to leverage."
The new business unit, which will have its own digital hub for up to 50 employees in Munich's Neuaubing district in February 2019, is led by Nadine Despineux, previously vice president of sales for injection molding machines.
Despineux, now president of digital service solutions, provided an update on the machinery leasing program, first presented at Fakuma 2017. The broad leasing plan is available for all KraussMaffei and Netstal injection molding machines in the group, she said. The company launched the program in Germany at the beginning of 2018.
Earlier this year, KraussMaffei announced it was investing in secondhand machinery startup Gindumac GmbH—a move Despineux called a "key to affordable leasing fees."
Gindumac operates a global internet platform for used machinery and connects all quotations and interested parties with one another globally. This can lead to better leasing rates for customers, the company said.
"We have gained our first customers for this (leasing) model, launched in Germany last year," she said.
Due to high demand and positive feedback, Despineux said, as of the news conference, KraussMaffei is expanding the program to France, Italy and Austria.
In combination with the "rent it" business model, KraussMaffei also is launching Speed-to-Market, a stock machine program starting with standard versions of its CX, GX and PX injection molding machines with clamping forces up to 650 metric tons as well as standard LRX linear robots.
"We want to introduce machines we have in our warehouses that we can deliver quickly to our customers," said Hans Ulrich Golz, president of KraussMaffei's injection molding segment.