Cutting-edge KION plant officially opens in the Czech Republic

The KION Group has held a ceremony to officially open its state-of-the-art plant near the Czech town of Stříbro close to Plzeň. The world's second-largest manufacturer of forklift trucks and warehouse technology has equipped its new production facility with digitally connected systems to create a 'smart factory'.

Cutting-edge KION plant officially opens in the Czech Republic

The KION Stříbro plant is initially building reach trucks for the Linde brand. Production got under way at the start of January 2016, little more than a year on from the ground-breaking ceremony in November 2014. The plant has the capacity to manufacture 12,000 trucks per year. Around 150 people are working at the site currently. The KION Group has spent around €14 million on fitting out the building, which has an area of approximately 24,000 square metres.

"Our new factory represents a major milestone in the implementation of our KION Group Strategy 2020, with which we are making sure our work is even more focused on customers, innovation and quality," said Gordon Riske, Chief Executive Officer of the KION Group, speaking at the opening ceremony, which was attended by guests from the worlds of politics and business. "Stříbro's location is ideal," emphasised Riske. "Firstly, the new factory brings us closer to our customers in eastern and southern Europe and, secondly, it is just a few hundred kilometres from Linde's core plant in Aschaffenburg and other sites."

“I am delighted about the start of the forklift truck production at the new facility in Ostrov u Stříbra. I am quite certain that the Stříbro and Plzeň region has found an outstanding partner for the development of high-quality industry and cutting-edge technology. It is a highly regarded employer that will offer good working conditions for the highly skilled local workforce,” Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka emphasised in a welcome address to mark the plant's official opening.

"We have set up our ideal material flow in the new factory," said Sabine Neuß, Linde Chief Operating Officer. "We are fully focused on our core competences. The processes are completely transparent and are managed, monitored and documented using IT systems."

“I am honoured to welcome such a significant international client in Panattoni Park in Ostrov u Stříbra and I am delighted that we were able to finish the project according to schedule,“ said Pavel Sovička, the General Director of Panattoni Europe in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Panattoni Europe is the development company which built the factory in cooperation with the Czech development company Accolade.

The building itself is owned by Accolade Group and KION rents the property for its plants. "We have signed a fifteen year lease agreement with the KION Group," explains Milan Kratina, Chairman of the Board of the Accolade Group, adding that the building itself, sans installed technology, is worth about 20 million euro.

The plant in Stříbro is the KION Group's third site in the Czech Republic. Linde Pohony (LiPo) makes steering axles and electric and hydrostatic drive axles for the KION Group in Český Krumlov. JULI is a joint venture of the KION Group near Brno and builds electric motors. The total number of people working at the three sites is around 1,200.

The Company

The KION Group – comprising the seven brands of Linde, STILL, Fenwick, OM STILL, Baoli, Voltas and Egemin Automation – is the largest manufacturer of industrial trucks in western and eastern Europe, the global number two in the industry and the leading non-domestic supplier in China. The Linde and STILL brands serve the premium segment worldwide. Fenwick is the largest supplier of material handling products in France, while OM STILL is a market leader in Italy. The Baoli brand focuses on the economy segment, and Voltas is a leading provider of industrial trucks in India. Egemin Automation is a leading Belgian logistics automation specialist.

The KION Group is present in more than 100 countries and, in 2015, employed approximately 23,500 people and generated revenue of around €5.1 billion according to preliminary and unaudited figures. KION GROUP AG is listed on Deutsche Börse's Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the MDAX (the German stock index for medium-sized companies) and the STOXX Europe 600 index, which comprises the 600 largest companies in Europe