Investors 'to share' merged manroland-Goss business

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Possehl Group and US-based American Industrial Partners will jointly own a new business to merge manroland web systems and the printing press business of Goss International.

The two web-offset giants announced the merger plans - to be completed "by the middle of 2018" - overnight.

Goss's Contiweb business, which has been shaping a future in packaging and digital print markets, is not included in the deal.

Both companies are manufacturers and service providers in the market for web printing systems for newspapers, heatset commercial and packaging products. In a joint statement they say combining their "complementary businesses" will bring benefits from complementary geographic footprints, create extensive synergies, ensure long-term viability, and provide value-oriented solutions, especially in the area of aftermarket ​​services, to become "a strong business partner to all international web printers".

Subject to regulatory approval, the merger is expected to be completed by the middle of 2018.

manroland web systems chief executive Alexander Wasserman says manroland is "on the path for continued success.

"We want to continue to develop this path by creating synergies, fostering the further development of our R&D activities and strengthening our innovation focus. Our customers will be able to choose from a wider portfolio of products and services."

At Goss International, chief executive Mohit Uberoi says the combination "will enable us to achieve extensive synergies that will help us optimally serve our customers into the future.

"The combination will strive to provide a best-in-class product offering and customer service."

The statement says current shareholders of manroland web systems, Possehl Group (Lübeck), and of Goss International, American Industrial Partners, will continue to co-own the combined company.

Staff representatives in Germany have already been told of the plans, which "will rely on the combined expertise of employees".

The merged business will "further continue its activities in the fields of innovative web printing systems, services, consumables and system components for the newspaper, commercial, packaging and digital printing markets. In addition to the new machinery and service business, the expansion of the business with retrofits and upgrades, and the systematic expansion of e-commerce activities will be major areas of focus."

The prospective partners say their combination will not impact any current business of both companies.

Management at manroland web systems and shareholder L. Possehl have "jointly informed" the works council and union IG Metall about the plans and representatives are now discussing "the concrete design of this forward-looking project and its effects on the employees". Possehl and manroland management say they are aiming for a "multi-year future pact" for Augsburg location after talks with the works council, employees and trade union.

WAN-Ifra deputy chief executive Manfred Werfel - who heads the World Printers Forum - has already commented on the merger plans, saying it makes "perfect sense" following the shrinking of web offset markets.

"This is the fact-based outlook. The other question will be how well the merger will be managed and how quickly the different organisations and cultures can be integrated. Time will tell."

Pictured: Mohit Uberoi (left) and Alexander Wasserman (corrected)

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