Kion eyeing US opportunities

News Story
- 6 Sep 2007 ( #326 ) - WIESBADEN, Germany
2 min read
Hubertus Krossa
Hubertus Krossa
Germany's Kion Group is on the look-out for a US acquisition to grow its market share and complement its OM brand, CEO Hubertus Krossa told reporters in Frankfurt last week.

The Wiesbaden-based group is, however, reluctant to specify which US companies constitute attractive acquisition targets.

"If an opportunity arises, we will certainly seize it," Krossa said.

Acquisitions could narrow the gap between Kion and world number one, Toyota Industries Corp.

Kion, acquired through a leverage buyout by KKR and Goldman Sachs from Linde AG last year, reported the total orders of its premium forklift brands Linde and Still, and value-segment brand OM recorded above industry-average growth for the first half of 2007 (Forkliftaction.com News #285).

The group's incoming orders jumped 22% from EUR1.996 billion (USD2.716 billion) to EUR2.435 billion (USD3.313 billion) this year. The world forklift market grew by just under 11% from 1 January to 30 June 2007. Sales increased 9.8% from EUR1.933 billion (USD2.630 billion) to EUR2.123 billion (USD2.889 billion). Earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) was EUR146.7 million (USD199.6 million) compared to last year's EUR115.6 million (USD157.3 million).

In 2007, Kion will spend over EUR40 million (USD54.4 million) on its GoIPO synergy and improvement program to prepare Kion for a stock market listing.

Kion could be on the stock market as early as 2008. Its stated goal is to be IPO-ready in 2009.

Nadim Cen
Nadim Cen
"Regarding our internal processes, we will be marketable in 2008," said chief financial officer Nadim Cen, adding he wants Kion to be valued at 10 times EBITA when it floats.

Its bottom line is expected to be in the red this year due to one-off costs for the leveraged buyout.

"We will fully digest the entire costs from the transaction in 2007," Cen said.

While orders have increased this year, Krossa says the group's production facilities are faced with the challenge of meeting them.

"The resources of our suppliers are limiting our growth and our factories are working at full capacity.

"Our employees are working extremely hard and are committed to supplying our customers in as short a timeframe as possible."

The group also expects "substantial" cost savings to come from procurement synergies for Linde, Still and OM.

Kion employed 20,453 staff globally as of 30 June 2007, including 551 trainees, 2% more than the end of last year. About 62% of staff work outside Germany.

Deutz AG's executive board chairman, Gordon Riske, will become chairman of Linde Material Handling GmbH's management board and a Kion Group executive board member on 1 October 2007. Riske will eventually replace Krossa as Kion's CEO.
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