Knaus Tabbert draws positive balance after its first year on the stock exchange
Knaus Tabbert AG, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of recreational vehicles, draws a positive balance after its first year on the stock exchange. “The initial public offering was an important milestone for the further development of our Group. With the proceeds from the issue of our shares, we have laid the foundation for further dynamic growth, such as the expansion of our production capacities, path-breaking innovations for our industry and the development of sustainable solutions for recreational vehicles,” comments Wolfgang Speck, CEO of Knaus Tabbert AG.
On September 23rd, 2020, the shares of Knaus Tabbert AG were traded for the first time in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Notwithstanding a volatile capital market environment, 10 million shares were issued at a price of 58 euros at the time of the IPO, primarily to institutional investors in Germany and abroad. Since then, the free float has stood at around 35 percent.
Manuel Taverne takes over as Head of Investor Relations of Knaus Tabbert AG
Manuel Taverne starts as Head of Investor Relations at Knaus Tabbert AG at the beginning of March, reporting in this role to Marc Hundsdorf, CFO of Knaus Tabbert AG. He will further expand this area after the successful IPO in September 2020 and will be the primary contact for investors, analysts and other financial market participants. Manuel Taverne looks back on more than 15 years of experience in capital market communications and has managed several IPOs in his career.
Before joining Knaus Tabbert AG, he was head of investor relations at the Austrian aerospace supplier FACC AG since 2015. Prior to that, he held a management position in investor relations and corporate communications at Polytec Holding AG for nine years.
Mr. Taverne, a native of Austria, has been living in Bavaria (Germany) for six years and is the father of three children. Mr. Taverne will work closely together with the Head of Communications/PR Mr. Stefan Diehl. “With Manuel Taverne, we were able to welcome a proven expert who will make a significant contribution to the successful positioning of Knaus Tabbert AG on the international capital markets,” says Marc Hundsdorf (CFO).
Knaus Tabbert continues profitable growth course: 2020 revenues & financial results higher than in previous year despite lockdown Knaus Tabbert, one of the leading manufacturers of recreational vehicles in Europe, has closed the 2020 financial year, which was dominated by the Coronavirus pandemic, slightly better than its own forecast, according to its preliminary figures. For 2020, the year of the IPO, the company recorded sales of 795 million euros.
This corresponds to an increase of around 2% compared to the previous year (2019: 780 million euros). Knaus Tabbert has thus completely made up for the Corona-related revenue shortfall in April 2020 despite renewed restrictions in the fourth quarter. Total output amounted to 807 million euros and thereby just exceeded the previous year’s figure (2019: 804 million euros). Adjusted EBITDA was 68 million euros, also above the previous year’s figure of around 65 million euros. Originally, Knaus Tabbert had forecasted revenues and EBITDA at the previous year’s level for 2020. The total number of vehicles sold in the past financial year was 24,349 compared to 25,729 in 2019. This reflects the company’s focus on the sale of high-quality motorised vehicles. Knaus Tabbert set a record in this segment with 4,627 (previous year: 4,289) van conversions sold. The Weinsberg models CaraBus and CaraTour were particularly popular. Added to this is the well-filled order book of 18,487 pre-ordered vehicles, which offers a high degree of planning security for the current 2021 fiscal year. This is particularly true when considering the sustained positive environment for caravanning, which is increasingly attractive among young people and the trend towards increasing regional tourism.
“First the lockdown in April, then the successful IPO in autumn – 2020 was an absolutely exceptional year in the history of Knaus Tabbert. We are very pleased that we were able to increase revenues and earnings,” says Wolfgang Speck, CEO of Knaus Tabbert. “The lockdown last year showed how well we can deal with challenging situations. Looking ahead to the current financial year, we are convinced that we will be able to serve the further increasing demand for our leisure vehicles in the European growth market well. Caravanning will continue to be one of the most popular types of holidays in the future and will become even more attractive.” Knaus Tabbert will publish the final results for the 2020 fiscal year on March 31, 2021.
He was an engineer and an inventor who largely shaped the recreational vehicle industry: Helmut Knaus (24.7.1920 to 21.5.1991) was an architect with a degree in engineering and master builder technology. In 1960, together with his sons Helmut and Albert, he founded KNAUS KG in the town of Marktbreit, which is located near the city of Würzburg. During the peak of Germany’s post-war economic boom (“Wirtschaftswunder”), an increasing number of Germans had the financial means to purchase a vehicle.
Going on a holiday in one´s own car became a reality for many Germans – with a majority of them driving a VW Beetle. Even during the years of World War II, Helmut Knaus had the idea to construct a caravan for the new Volkswagen. It has to be compact, comfortable and lightweight. And round like a swallows’ nest, which was the name it was given.
When the KNAUS SCHWALBENNEST was introduced in 1961, the world of caravans was enriched by another top-selling model. And this was despite the fact that it wasn’t exactly cheap. With a price tag of 3,000 German Marks, the caravan cost only 800 Marks less than the standard model VW Beetle 1200 at the time. Helmut Knaus also created the matching corporate logo: a flying pair of sparrows – a logo that adorns the body of every motorhome and caravan made by KNAUS to this day. When the first Caravan Salon trade fair was held in Essen in 1962, Helmut Knaus took it a step further. Along with the MONSUN, the launch of the SÜDWIND introduced a further iconic caravan to the market. Today, both are among the best-selling models of KNAUS caravans.
Years later, the SCHWALBENNEST experienced a rebirth: In 2011, the recreated caravan based on the original model was built in a limited edition of 150 units as a fitting celebration of 50 years of KNAUS. Due to the enormous success of the KNAUS products, new production capacities, in addition to the plant in Marktbreit, were added in the neighbouring town of Ochsenfurt. In the 1960s, a modern plant, which also included its own fire brigade, was constructed. Naturally, the chassis for the fire hose trailer was designed and constructed in-house. In 1969, Helmut Knaus continued with his expansion course. In Jandelsbrunn, near Passau, the company investeds five million German Marks in a new main plant. The plant began operations in 1970. Initially, the KNAUS Jet was manufactured here. Furthermore, Helmut Knaus continued to drive the expansion of the European sales and services network, which today includes about 600 partner companies. The competitor EIFELLAND was acquired in 1973. In 1974,
KNAUS acquired the caravan manufacturer WOLFBART. In 1973, Helmut Knaus was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his courage and his entrepreneurship. In the 1980s, KNAUS harvested the fruits of this tireless effort. In particular, the SÜDWIND and AZUR were sales drivers that helped KNAUS advance to become one of the leading caravan manufacturers in Europe. Today, KNAUS is one of the industry’s most successful brands and has been building both caravans as well as innovative motorhomes for over 30 years. In 1988, the TRAVELLER become the first KNAUS motorhome and immediately received the coveted title ”Motorhome of the year”, which was awarded by the trade journal “PROMOBIL”. In 1996, the TRAVEL LINER was introduced as the first fully integrated motorhome and became an immediate success. During the same year, the traditional companies KNAUS and TABBERT began a cooperation that ultimately resulted in their 2001 merger. This led to the founding of the Knaus Tabbert Group GmbH in 2002. In 2004, KNAUS set another milestone and, with the SUN TI, redefined the vehicle class of partially integrated caravans featuring a large skylight. The following year, KNAUS launched its first camper van, which is known as a CUV (Caravanning Utility Vehicle) today.
As a result of the global economic crisis in 2008, the company filed for bankruptcy at the end of that year. However, with strong financial backing, the company restarted its operations in 2009. This was only possible because a shrewd executive team and a prudent worker’s council set the proper course. For example, the employees terminated their employment contracts voluntarily, thus enabling Knaus Tabbert GmbH to start anew. In 2012, with the introduction of the SKY I, KNAUS set new benchmarks in the fully integrated vehicles segment and completely redefined form, function and quality. In 2013, the CARAVISIO concept designed by KNAUS introduced an entirely new streamlined design, thereby anticipating a completely new design language for caravans.
In 2015, with the SUN I, the Jandelsbrunn-based company made an impressive return to the liner luxury segment. In 2016, the TRAVELINO signalled the next step in the future of caravan construction. It was the first ultralight caravan by Knaus Tabbert to that feature a revolutionary fibre-frame basis.
The flexible and variable DESEO, which was launched in 2017, was designed using the same ground-breaking construction principle. Furthermore, in 2016 the partially integrated motorhome SKY TI by KNAUS was introduced. Beyond this, with its programme THE MISSION, the company is paving its future course – with the major focus being on innovative lightweight construction. Following the introduction of the L!VE model series in 2017, the largest and most attractive range of models in the company’s history has been completed. In the same year, an extensive cooperation with VW is launched and in 2018 a similar cooperation with MAN. The BOXDRIVE based on the VW Crafter and the VAN TI PLUS as the first motorhome on MAN TGE basis are the successful results of this pioneering cooperation. In being awarded the ”Golden Motorhome 2019” by trade journal Auto Bild Reisemobil, the new KNAUS VAN TI PLUS 700 LF immediately won the special editorial prize for the “best new vehicle in 2019” – just one of numerous prizes with which the quality products made by KNAUS have been awarded and that also demostrate the extraordinary team spirit of the Knaus Tabbert employees.
To celebrate the anniversary year 2020 in fitting style in keeping with its slogan “Freedom that inspires”, KNAUS is travelling several thousand kilometres across Germany from June until the end of the year: The tour includes some of the most beautiful “meinPLATZ” camping sites. The Anniversary Tour team is bringing its expertise about caravanning topics, information about the #KNAUS brand world as well as an entertainment programme of comedy, live music and culinary delights from the KNAUS home of Lower Bavaria – naturally, all in compliance with the required hygiene measures. Many people currently consider caravanning to be the safest type of holiday anywhere, #At home everywhere in your own mobile home – the KNAUS anniversary tour celebrates this lifestyle with “mein PLATZ”.
The “Golden Motorhome” 2020: Three prizes for KNAUS and Weinsberg vehicles
Coinciding with the start of the Caravan Salon trade fair in Düsseldorf, Knaus Tabbert reports yet another impressive achievement: No less than three models secure top rankings in the independent reader selection conducted by the popular trade journal “Auto Bild Reisemobil”.
The KNAUS L!VE I dominated the integrated class in impressive style. As a brand-new model with numerous advantages, it outshone all competitors from the outset – impressing in equal measure with modern technology, striking design and an outstanding price-performance ratio. Another member of the brand family also took the win in the semi-integrated class: The WEINSBERG CaraCompact EDITION [PEPPER] overtook the entire competitive field. It’s hardly surprising given that the PEPPER has been Europe’s top-selling motorhome in the semi-integrated class for some time.
The company also achieved notable success in the CUV (Caravan Utility Vehicles) class: The knowledgeable readers of “Auto Bild Reisemobil” voted the KNAUS BOXSTAR LIFETIME XL in third place. Featuring new high-roof floor plans, it now offers even greater freedom of movement. The “Golden Motorhome” is regarded as one of the industry’s most prestigious awards. For many years, models from Knaus Tabbert have achieved successes in this reader selection – as Gerd Adamietzki, CSO of Knaus Tabbert AG notes: “We believe that three top rankings in a year represent an exceptional sign of confidence by critical voters. I would like to thank the readers of “AutoBild Reisemobil” and, of course, the entire Knaus Tabbert team.”
Although the prizes are traditionally presented at the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf, this year’s ceremony will take place without the industry’s popular evening event due to the current circumstances.
Knaus Tabbert is a driver of innovation in the industry-In order to be successful, companies must permanently drive improvements forward in order to help actively shape the future of caravan mobility.
Therefore, Knaus Tabbert is fully focused on the power of innovation – with great success: in our record-breaking sales year of 2019, we manufactured more than 26,000 motorhomes, caravans and CUVs (Caravanning Utility Vehicles). Knaus Tabbert is optimistic about 2020, too.
What’s more, the Jandelsbrunn-based company was awarded for its
innovative products: these include the European Innovation Award as well as
various top finishes in the Caravan and Motorhome of the Year 2020 voting,
which were awarded at the most successful CMT trade fair of all time. In
general, the start of the trade fair in Stuttgart was extremely successful for
Knaus Tabbert: the previous year’s sales figures were again exceeded.
At Knaus Tabbert, the future of recreational mobility
has already begun
The key to success is the use of highly modern technologies similar to those employed in the automobile sector. The most recent example: the 48-Volt wiring system that Knaus Tabbert has developed for motorhomes in collaboration with Bosch Engineering. This has enabled Knaus Tabbert to forge entirely new roads: in the automobile sector, 48-Volt networks are considered key future technology for enabling electro-mobility, automated driving and low emissions.
In the caravan, this intelligent, independent power supply offers maximum mobility and freedom. Because what good is the most beautiful campsite if you are dealing with an insufficient power supply? With 48-Volt, on-board voltage, campers remain self-sufficient for much longer. Therefore, you don’t have to compromise on the accustomed comfort.
In a further step, e-mobility for motorhomes is conceivable – in lockstep with the automobile industry, Knaus Tabbert is therefore taking the next step towards establishing this future technology and revolutionising the construction of recreational vehicles.
For example, the system consists of an electric axle, modern sensor technology, as well as lithium‐ion‐batteries made by Bosch. Irrespective of the towing vehicle, it can generate electric energy, because through the generator operation of the Bosch 48-Volt e‐motor, the batteries can be charged while driving as well as through recuperation (energy recovery during the braking process).
The stored energy can subsequently be used by the customers within the motorhome or it can be transformed into energy used to power the vehicle.
Up to eight stationary 48-Volt lithium‐ion‐batteries ensure maximal flexibility. Furthermore, the system can be expanded to accompany portable 48-Volt battery units. These portable units can be charged at home or in the motorhome via an electric socket.
A manoeuvring function is even integrated: the motorhome can be moved into the desired position using an app.
Beyond this, a connectivity unit is the basis for providing digital services such as the regulation of the recuperation settings, which can be adjusted while driving using the mobile device.
No other manufacturer of motorhomes and caravans is currently working on these types of pioneering technologies.
Through additional innovations, Knaus Tabbert sets
itself apart from the competition
In other areas as well, Knaus Tabbert anticipates the future of
recreational mobility. For example, during the 2020 model year, all motorhomes
and CUVs are equipped with a charging booster as a standard feature. Now
the battery can be charged even faster and more safely. Furthermore, all
vehicles are equipped with a BWT water filter system (Best Water Technology),
which always ensures clean water on board. For older models, Knaus Tabbert
offers a retrofit kit.
For the KNAUS and WEINSBERG motorhomes, the new model year will feature an e.hit rear carrier with a double swivel arm for bicycles and suitable transport boxes as well as an integrated trailer hitch. At the push of a button, the rear carrier swivels automatically from beneath the bumper element within 25 seconds. With a head-up display (available in the optional Media Package), the KNAUS and WEINSBERG motorhomes and CUVs are at the cutting edge of the digital age. The list of innovations can be easily expanded: for example, with the full LED headlamps or the KNAUS CATEYE evolution taillights that are available on certain models, modern keys with secure internal cut key locking system for the cabin door and service flaps, or the optionally available and very practical gas bottle pull-out. Interior and ambience lightingin an energy-saving LED version is now standard at Knaus Tabbert. Beginning in model year 2020, the top-selling WEINSBERG model CaraCompact as well as the successful special model EDITION [PEPPER] will receive a new skylight made from fibre-reinforced polyurethane with integrated insulation. This high-quality LFI technology (long-fibre injection)
was previously only available for models in the higher price range. At the same time, the biometric lightweight construction of the motorhome chassis helps reduce the overall fuel consumption of the towing vehicle. If desired, the luxury caravan TABBERT CELLINI can provide voice-activation for supporting various vehicle functions. Of course, innovation does not stop at good service: in 2020, KNAUS‐ and WEINSBERG‐motorhomes can be serviced and repaired at 29 MAN‐Service Stations throughout Germany.