The technical weavers for industry and architecture GKD – Gebr. Kufferath AG (GKD) continued their success story in the 2018 financial year: With sales revenue that rose to 95.3 million euros, the GKD Group exceeded the previous year’s figure by 9.6 percent. All business divisions and subsidiaries contributed to this positive result, allowing the third-generation owner-managed family company to further expand its position as global market leader in defined niche markets. The growth course was also evident in the 14 percent hike in employees: As at the balance sheet date of December 31, 2018, GKD employed 871 people throughout the Group, 457 (+3.2 percent) of them at the headquarters in Düren, Germany. In the reporting year, GKD invested a total of 4.8 million euros in the future. Alongside further modernization, automation, and capacity expansion of machines and plant, a major focus was the expansion of the Düren company headquarters with an extra 700 square meters of office space.
In four business divisions – Industrial Mesh, Process Belts, Metal Fabrics, and Transparent Media Façades – GKD is the global market leader for technical weave made of metal and plastic as well as spiral mesh. A global presence is ensured by six company-owned factories as well as branches and agencies worldwide. “The basis of our success is the breadth of our technology portfolio combined with our rigorous pursuit of technological leadership in the relevant markets,” says GKD Director Dr. Stephan Kufferath. In conjunction with the intensive internationalization the company has practiced for years, this strategy gave rise to continued success in the 2018 financial year. With an increase of 38.7 percent, the U.S. market was the main contributor to the growth in sales revenue. This upturn was due primarily to a major expansion of the Group’s own production activities and a new production site in the USA. Despite a good performance by GKD India, Asia and Australia were unable to match the previous year’s success (-38.2 percent). In 2017, the major architectural project for the Tencent headquarters in China was the key factor in a record result for Asia. In Europe and South Africa, sales climbed by 7.5 percent.
Solution expertise in high demand
The Industrial Mesh division saw an increase in sales revenue of 7.1 percent on the previous year. The key drivers of this were the automotive industry as well as various applications in the field of solid-fluid separation. “We are often asked whether the changes in the automotive industry lead to us receiving fewer orders,” says Stephan Kufferath. He continues: “Quite the opposite is true, as we are not part of the problem but part of the solution!” His brother and fellow Director, qualified engineer Ingo Kufferath, also sees GKD as being ideally equipped for the future of the automobile: “We’ve been working intensively on topics such as electromobility, driverless vehicles, etc. for a very long time and are involved as development partner in a number of key projects.” In addition, the new product range of Porometric mesh achieved significant initial success in the crude oil industry and water filtration. For the current financial year, GKD has set its sights high in terms of expected sales for this three-dimensional filtration mesh, the performance spectrum of which considerably exceeds all meshes previously used in these applications.
With solutions that contribute to making the world healthier, safer, and cleaner, GKD’s Process Belt division recorded an above-average increase in sales revenue of 11.2 percent in 2018. The major contributor to this development was the new production site in the USA, with which GKD significantly expanded production capacity for this business division in particular. GKD process belts are used the world over in areas such as environmental protection or hygienic applications – from diapers to food production. Sales revenue in the Metal Fabrics division, too, exceeded that of the previous year. The rise of 10.2 percent was also heavily influenced by the positive business development in the USA. The acoustic ceiling in the Museum of the Bible, Washington, paved the way for ceiling systems from GKD in the U.S. market. Yet the most successful system launches in the Architecture division in 2018 were roller shutters and doors. The Mediamesh transparent media façade system performed positively, climbing by 33 percent compared to the previous year. A great example of this is the interactive media façade at Stanford University.
For the current fiscal year, GKD expects a further significant rise in Group earnings despite increasing uncertainty in the global economy. For the first time, the company is aiming for sales revenue in excess of 100 million euros in 2019. “By driving internationalization hard in the last few years and through attractive market opportunities for our new product developments in all business units, we are well equipped even for difficult conditions,” says Ingo Kufferath of this goal.
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GKD – WORLD WIDE WEAVE
As a privately owned technical weaver, GKD – Gebr. Kufferath AG is the world market leader in metal, synthetic and spiral mesh solutions. Four independent business divisions bundle their expertise under one roof: Industrial Mesh (woven metal mesh and filter solutions), Process Belts (belts made of mesh and spirals), Architectural meshes (façades, safety and interior design made of metal fabrics) and Mediamesh® (Transparent media façades). With its headquarter in Germany and five other facilities in the US, South Africa, China, India and Chile – as well as its branches in France, Spain, Dubai and worldwide representatives, GKD is close to markets anywhere in the world.
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