On 11 January 2013, the Supervisory Board of KION GROUP GmbH expanded the Company's Executive Board. Ching Pong Quek, who has headed up KION's entire Asia business since 2008, was appointed to the Executive Board as Chief Asia Pacific Officer. This new post has been created in recognition of the growing importance of the region for the Group's financial performance.
The Supervisory Board has also made the management of the Linde and STILL brands more involved in running the Group as a whole. The CEO of Linde Material Handling GmbH, Theodor Maurer, and the CEO of STILL GmbH, Bert-Jan Knoef, have also been appointed to the Executive Board of the KION Group. They remain in charge of their respective brand companies.
The KION Group's Executive Board now has five members and is presided over by CEO Gordon Riske. CFO Dr Thomas Toepfer has also assumed responsibility for HR and been appointed as the KION Group's Labour Relations Director. Klaus Hofer, who had been in charge of human resources, has left the Company.
At the end of January 2013, KION entered into consultations with employee representatives and trade unions concerning the process of restructuring of its container handler and heavy forklift truck business. This also includes the intended closure of LMH’s plant in Merthyr Tydfil (Wales, UK). The proposed measures are intended to sustainably improve KION’s competitiveness in both areas, as well as the efficiency of its European production network.
In February 2013, the KION Group announced that Konecranes, a world-leading group of Lifting BusinessesTM, would take over certain assets from LMH’s container handling truck business. The transaction should be concluded during the second quarter of 2013. LMH will continue to offer reach stackers and empty and laden container handlers in the future, the production of which should take place at Konecranes going forward. Both companies also signed a long-term supply agreement and are working together to improve their respective international competitiveness in the container handling truck business.
In February 2013, KION Finance S.A. placed a senior secured note on the European bond market with a total volume of €650 million. The proceeds will be used to fully refinance loans that will fall due in 2014, as well as to partially refinance loans that will fall due in the following years.
The senior secured bond, which will mature in 2020, was issued in a fixed-interest tranche (6.75 per cent) in the amount of €450 million, and in a floating-rate tranche (4.5 per cent above the prevailing three-month EURIBOR rate) in the amount of €200 million.
As a result of the successful bond placement and refinancing, KION is extending the maturity profile of the Group’s financial debt until the year 2020, as well as expanding its circle of investors. In connection with the bond placement, Moody’s raised its rating outlook for KION from stable to positive. In doing so, Moody’s is reacting to KION’s positive operational performance since its initial bond placement in 2011, as well as to the reduction of its financial debt and improved strategic perspectives.
The capital increase that was resolved in 2012 in connection with Weichai Power’s 25 per cent shareholding was entered in the commercial register on 14 January 2013.