Background: Goss China - the press success that got away?

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In the background behind US private equity firm AIP's decision to sell Goss International into a "merger" with German rival manroland web systems is the story of a troubled marriage.

It's a marriage which saw first a joint venture with, and then full ownership of Goss International by Chinese giant Shanghai Electric Corporation.

While the North American industry rejoiced that Goss was "back in US ownership" when private equity firm American Industrial Partners bought Goss International and its subsidiaries from Shanghai Electric in 2015, it is understood that what may have been the full potential of the deal was never fulfilled.

A business based on a new Shanghai factory and still known as Goss Graphic Systems (China) continues to offer new presses for the newspaper, book and packaging markets, and is doing very nicely, thank you, having taken dozens of press orders in the past 12 months, a staggering quantity in the context of today's depressed web-offset press market. Almost two-thirds of these have been for newspaper presses, but orders cover the whole range including book, commercial and packaging printing equipment.

One standouts of the Goss-SEC partnership has been the single-width Goss Magnum Compact, of which installations are at Advance Publishing in New York, and Express Newspapers in Sri Lanka.

It is understood the Goss Magnum Compact installed at Community Impact Newspaper in Pflugerville, near Austin in Texas, in 2016, was built at Goss International's factory in the US.

The small press - which we understand to include technology contributions from both continents - is capable of claimed two-minute edition changeovers.

It is not clear whether separation negotiations have yet been finalised, but GXpress understands that rights to the Goss name and historic brands such as Community and Magnum are held by AIP-owned Goss International.

We'll hope to have more to tell you on all of this as things proceed and the air clears.

Peter Coleman

Pictured: The new Goss Graphic Systems (China) factory in Shanghai

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