Based in the Austrian city of Steyr, bearing manufacturer NKE Austria GmbH has been part of the Fersa Group since January 2016. The group was established through the merger of Spanish company Fersa Bearings and NKE Austria. Both companies are internationally active in the development, production and sales of bearings for the global automotive and industrial markets, with Fersa covering the automotive and NKE the industrial sector.
Thomas Witzler, general manager of NKE, recently talked about the strategic outlook and plans of the Austrian company in the coming years.
“In 2018, Fersa will exercise its purchasing option to acquire the remaining 51 percent of NKE, making the latter a full member of the Fersa Group. As a group we will be ideally positioned to extend our production capacities and jointly set up additional factories, as well as to utilize common resources in all business sectors,” Witzler said. “NKE will also increase its focus on its four strategic industries: mechanical drives, electrical drives, agri-tech and fluid technology. The group has the clear goal of achieving the turnover-milestone of 100 million euros by the year 2020.”
According to Witzler, the bearings market is facing a radical change in the next five to ten years. In particular, the automotive market will come under pressure from the growing trend towards electric mobility and the reduced demand for conventional bearings.
“We expect the capacities that will be freed up through this development to shift from the automotive to the industrial sector, which will result in additional cost pressure,” Witzler added. “A further trend is that conventional automotive suppliers are increasingly transforming into system suppliers, as conventional mechanical components are increasingly being replaced by intelligent specialized systems.”
NKE is investing heavily in the technologies of tomorrow. Because conventional bearing technology is mostly at its limits, profitable growth will, in the long term, be possible only in niche markets. NKE is therefore focusing on the development of intelligent products, like its sensor bearing.
“We are aiming for a profitability of at least ten percent. In addition to customer service, we will also further enhance our flexibility and speed, and aim to generate turnover of 200 million euros in the Fersa Group. In the medium term, this will be achieved both through organic and inorganic growth,” Witzler said.