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Kion Group aims to overtake Toyota
Thursday, 7 Sep 2006 ( #276 ) - WIESBADEN, Germany
News Story
In conjunction with Linde AG’s merger with BOC Group plc on September 5, Linde AG has grouped its three materials handling brands into a new holding company, the Kion Group.

The newly-created gases and engineering company, The Linde Group, will be based in Munich, Germany, and Surrey, in the UK. Linde-owned Kion Group will be headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Hubertus Krossa
Hubertus Krossa, a member of the Kion Group management board, said the new group would combine the strengths of the Linde, Still and OM brands "under one roof" and better position the brands to "maximise cross-market synergies".  However, all brands would be managed independently, a Kion corporate presentation said. News understands Linde, Still and OM’s existing worker agreements will remain unchanged but the new holding company has a new management team.

Kion Group’s management team is Krossa, 58, a Linde AG board of directors member responsible for the materials handling division since January 2005,  Dr Nedim Cen, 40, a former Credit Suisse managing director who was responsible for the bank’s mergers & acquisitions business in Germany and Austria, and Ralf Speth, 50, an ex-materials handling division management board member.

Dr Nedim Cen
Krossa said Kion Group was "the undisputed market leader in Europe" and a leader in technological innovation.

Linde, OM and Still have traditionally been strong in Europe but are only just growing in the Asian and North American markets. Linde Material Handling managing director Georg Silbermann told trade press in June 2006 that Linde was targeting market share growth in Asia and the USA. ( News #265). The Linde brand has been present in China since the 1990s but, in July 2005, Linde Material Handling launched a second brand in China, OM, to capitalise on China’s growing forklift market.

In the corporate presentation, Kion Group outlined its goal to be a "global player with presence in all core markets" and "the benchmark for the materials handling industry, ahead of Toyota", by 2011.

Ralf Speth
The group said it chose the Kion name because it was short, concise, melodic and familiar, with positive associations around the world. A superscript bar in its logo represented a forklift’s tyne.

The word originated from the language of the Massai, a nomadic ethnic tribe in Kenya and Tanzania. "Kion (gozi)", according to the Kion Group, means "take the leadership". Kion in Chinese characters means "proud of the victory".

Consolidated sales of all three Kion brands for 2005 totalled EUR3.628 billion (USD4.639 billion), with Linde accounting for EUR2.346 billion (USD2.999 billion), Still EUR1.197 billion (USD1.531 billion) and OM EUR252 million (USD322 million). A total of 19,323 employees worked for the three brands worldwide (Linde, 62.2 per cent; Still, 31.6 per cent; and OM, 6.2 per cent). Production output was 125,300 units (Linde, 71,600; Still, 36,900; and OM, 16,800).

Linde AG acquired Hamburg-based Still GmbH from Quandt Group in 1973 followed by mid-priced forklift producer OM Carrelli Elevatori SpA in Lainate, Milan, Italy, in 1992. Linde Material Handling is headquartered at Aschaffenburg, Germany.
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