Esko sells Kongsberg to private equity firm

Esko, a global developer of integrated software and hardware solutions for the packaging and label sectors, has now formally sold digital finishing business, Kongsberg, to US-based private equity firm, OpenGate Capital.

The business, Kongsberg Precision Cutting Systems (Kongsberg PCS), will now operate as a stand alone business. Kongsberg was founded in Norway in 1965 and was purchased by Esko, then Barco, in 1988.

Last December, Esko agreed to sell the business to OpenGate Capital. The acquisition is now completed and includes the original research and development facility in Kongsberg, Norway and the production facility in Brno, Czech Republic.

Kongsberg Precision Cutting Services President and CEO Stuart Fox

“This is truly an exciting day for everyone at the company,” Kongsberg PCS president Stuart Fox said.

“Since 1965, the Kongsberg name has been synonymous with innovation. Our systems have led the industry in delivering precision, reliability and quality through seven decades. Following the acquisition by OpenGate Capital, we will now focus on our future, and the next generation innovation and growth.”

OpenGate Capital is a private equity firm headquartered in Los Angeles, California, with a European office in Paris and investments on five continents.

Fox says the purchase will give Kongsberg the opportunity to explore new markets.

“We will be developing strategic initiatives to further innovate our digital finishing hardware and software solutions, as well as growing the Kongsberg brand beyond the packaging industry,” Fox said.

“Whilst we are excited about the future, we are also committed to ensuring we honour our heritage. We have an incredible team of 400 people, many of whom have been a part of the Kongsberg family for more than 30 years.

“The Kongsberg values that are important to our customers –  the strength, the performance, the longevity of the machine – will endure.”

It is understood there are over 150 Kongsberg cutters in operation in Australia and New Zealand and the company says sales, service, consumables and spare parts will continue as usual.

“Sales, service, consumables and spare parts will all continue as usual,” Fox said.

“Customers will receive the same level of service during the transition and they can look forward to business as usual throughout 2021.

“We will continue investing in our table technology, and in the coming months we will be showcasing the latest developments with our automation solutions.”

The new business, Kongsberg Precision Cutting Systems, now employs 400 former Esko employees operating from the business’ original research and development facility in Kongsberg, Norway, the production facility in Brno, Czech Republic, a new headquarters in Gent, Belgium as well as other global locations.

Mattias Byström, President of Pantone, Esko and X-Rite, said: “This sale enables both Esko and Kongsberg Precision Cutting Systems to develop their own strategic directions.

“Under the leadership of Stuart Fox, we’re sure Kongsberg Precision Cutting has exciting times ahead. We wish the team the very best for the future.”

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