Germany: KHS CEO Prof. Niemeyer released with immediate effect

KHS, one of the leading suppliers of filling and packaging systems, based in Dortmund Germany has released its CEO Prof. Dr. Matthias Niemeyer with immediate effect.  After assuming his role as CEO of KHS in 2011, Niemeyer presented the ‘Fit4Future’ initiative, which was designed to restructure and streamline the business and launching new and profitable products. Apparently Niemeyer was not able to lift the EBIT margin significantly enough to please his boss, Salzgitter CEO and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of KHS Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heinz Jörg Fuhrmann.

In 2016, KHS achieved a turnover of €1.18 billion, which was only 0.7% higher than the year before. Moreover, earnings before interests and taxes (EBIT) of the Technology Business Unit, which comprises KHS and two minor special machinery manufactures, were only €28 million in 2016. The meager EBIT margin of 2.4% is contrasted by nearly 7% of KHS’ fiercest rival Krones.

Niemeyer pursued an academic career at the University of Hannover, Germany before working his entire professional life for Salzgitter Group, the first eight years for the parent company Salzgitter AG and the last eight years for its subsidiary KHS. He is said to be an excellent expert on the technological side of the business. However, it seemed hard to bring a colossus like KHS with its nearly 5,000 employees back on track without severe cutbacks.

Burkhard Becker, CFO of Salzgitter AG has assumed temporarily Niemeyer’s role until a successor is found. Becker knows KHS from his own experience from working as CFO for KHS before joining the parent company Salzgitter AG in the same role. When KHS replaced its CFO in 2015, Becker already held two positions for the interim period of 10 months.

KHS GmbH was established in 1993 from a merger involving Holstein & Kappert of Dortmund (founded in 1868) and Seitz-Werke (founded in 1887), which later became Seitz Enzinger Noll (SEN), Bad Kreuznach. The company operates five sites in Germany (Dortmund, Bad Kreuznach, Worms, Hamburg and Kleve) and six more abroad (Brazil, 2x USA, Mexico, India and China).  The company offers turnkey filling lines for glass and PET bottles, kegs, and cans for the beverage, food, and non-food industries, and process engineering in such areas as fermentation, filtering, blending, cleaning in place (CIP), deaeration, carbonization, stabilization and pasteurization. KHS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Salzgitter Klöckner-Werke, a member of Salzgitter.

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