Shanghai — KraussMaffei Group GmbH is crediting improved access to the Chinese market under its new owner ChemChina for playing an important role in driving growth.
At a news conference ahead of Chinaplas in Shanghai, KM China CEO Cui Xiaojun said the firm — which reported a record 1.37 billion euros in sales in 2017 — saw sales jump 70 percent in China last year.
"We are on a very solid platform to grow globally and more so in China. We grow with German technology and Chinese speed," Cui said. "This ownership has established a new platform for KM to grow not only in China and Asia but globally."
Cui and KM executives spoke at an April 23 media day, ahead of Chinaplas, April 24-27 in Shanghai.
Cui would not discuss specific growth targets for China but said the company expects solid performance in the country to continue.
The company reported that from 2013 to 2017, it had a compounded annual growth rate of 31 percent in sales in China, and a 48 percent growth rate in operations.
"Last year was obviously a big jump," he said. Looking to the future, he said, "we will still grow at high speed, but as the base becomes bigger, we probably can't expect higher percentages, but we still expect high growth."
Frank Stieler, CEO of Munich-based KraussMaffei Group, said the company is seeing more demand in China.
"Our products in the injection molding and reaction process technology segments in particular benefited greatly from growing Chinese demand," Stieler said in a statement. "We intend to adapt our product series more to take account of regional requirements."
The German machinery company is also making a series of partnership and product introductions at the fair.
The company announced what it's calling Taiji Blue, a partnership with Hebei, China-based Baosu Pipe Industry, to produce biaxially oriented PVC pipe technology that will be used for waste water and drinking water.
Its KM Berstorff unit will also show its new ZE-CN twin-screw extruder series, which is assembled at the company's manufacturing plant in Haiyan, China. KM claims the line has 15 percent higher output rates and 20 percent more flexibility in process applications.
"Whether or not the product is made in China or made in Germany, in this market we adjust the product to Chinese customers' needs," Cui said.
"Specifically for China, Chinese customers have bigger requirements," he said. "KM products are of high end, and we are now expanding our offering to the majority of our customers so that all our customers can benefit from our high quality low life cycle solutions."
KraussMaffei also confirmed that its machinery rental business will begin in China next year.
The company said it's moving ahead with plans unveiled in December by ChemChina to list KM on the Shanghai stock market to access Chinese capital markets to help fund growth.
KM would be brought into an existing unit of ChemChina, Qingdao Tianhua Institute of Chemistry Engineering Co. Ltd., which is already listed on the Shanghai exchange.
Cui said ChemChina is choosing to inject KM's assets into the existing Qingdao unit because it's the fastest way for the firm to get to the stock market.
"If we don't go this way, we have to wait for three years" under stock market rules, Cui said.
He said this listing process, through an existing ChemChina unit, was planned when ChemChina bought KraussMaffei in April 2016,
Globally, the company said it plans to invest heavily in its machine fleet and in information technology infrastructure and software this year, with investment of 67 million euros planned, an 81 percent increase from last year.
Stieler said globally 2017 was a good year for the firm: "We succeeded in beating the record we achieved in 2016 for both revenue and new orders."