13 Mar 2019 09:03

‘We want to be high on the priorities list’

“Our relationship with SEB is solid. We have a good and uncomplicated cooperation,” says Dirk Baltzer, Senior Director Corporate Treasury of Germany’s KION Group, Europe’s largest manufacturer of industrial forklifts and a leading provider of logistics solutions for factories, warehouses and distribution centres.

The Group, based in Frankfurt, had sales of EUR 7.7bn in 2017, with 31,000 employees. KION is the world’s largest manufacturer of forklift trucks, with operations in more than 100 countries around the world.

In 2017 KION completed its acquisition of Dematic, a world-leading provider of automated logistics solutions. The acquisition was in line with the Group’s shift from being a pure-play machinery manufacturer to a provider of end-to-end service solutions in logistics.

“We are affected by two megatrends – the growth of e-commerce, which requires extremely flexible warehouse solutions, and the Internet of Things (IoT), which puts demands on integration and automation,” Dirk Baltzer explains.

To meet these demands, KION is developing comprehensive logistics and warehousing solutions that provide their customers with automated solutions for sorting and packaging products for distribution.

With operations on six continents, KION has a need for several different banks, but SEB is the Group’s core bank and provides the company with financing solutions, cash management in the Nordic countries, and various types of derivative services coupled to currency trading.

“What’s most important in a banking relationship is that the bank has a long-term commitment, not least when it comes to financing. You must be able to trust that the bank will be there for you over the years,” says Dirk.

“Since we need many different types of banking services in all countries around the world, we work with strong actors who are number one in their respective areas.

“I have a good personal relationship with SEB’s customer representative. When our previous contact person switched jobs some time ago, he made sure that the transition went smoothly by working in parallel with the new rep for several months.

“I feel we are important for the bank and that our needs and preferences are at the top of their priorities list. It’s reassuring.”