Goss and manroland web to merge

The world's two biggest web offset manufacturers manroland Web Systems and Goss International are to merge, creating the industry's biggest web offset press manufacturer.
The companies say that they will benefit from extensive synergies and will provide value-oriented solutions, particularly in aftermarket services.

The Goss International Contiweb drying and web-handling products business is not included in the transaction. 

The combined company says it will 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. 

The current shareholders of Goss, American Industrial Partners, and of manroland, Possehl Group (Lübeck), would co-own the combined company, with a merger set to go through in the middle of the year. Whether it is a 50/50 ownership is not yet known.

In Australia manroland is the dominant web press manufacturer with almost 100 per cent of the market in recent years. Its latest presses include two 80pp Lithomans for the new Franklin Web site in NSW. 

In contrast, it has been many summers since a new Goss press was installled, however local Goss owners have been upgrading their existing presses. Other web press manufacturers KBA, Komori, TKS and Mitsubishi have had virtually no Australian orders.

Dennis Wickham, managing director, manroland Australia, says, “I think it is positive for the industry, both companies have a lot of strengths, and coming together will bring those strengths forward, for everyone to benefit.”

[Related: manroland launches online platform]

The press giants are living in a shrinking market, with newspaper web sales in particular collapsing in the ten years since the GFC, with Goss particularly heavy hit. Both comanies went through financial travails post-GFC. Goss spent time in Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US, while the original manroland went into administration seven years ago, resulting in the company being split into two entities, web and sheetfed, emerging with two seperate owners. The manroland sheetfed business remains a seprate entity and is not part of this merger.

The global web press market size is thought to be a fraction of that pre-GFC, with some analysts believing it is less than 15 per cent of what it was.

The merger of the web press giants continues the wave of consolidaiton on the supply side of print since the turn of the year, with Muller Martini buying the Kolbus bookbinding and binding business, and Fujifilm buying the Xerox business, although that is not a done deal with various shareholders battling to prevent it.

However there will be no such angst for the boards of manroland and Goss, the manroland 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.”

[Related: Goss acquires Graphic Automation Controls]

Goss chief executive Mohit Uberoi added: “This 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.”

Additionally, the expansion of the business with retrofits and upgrades, and the systematic expansion of e-commerce activities will be major areas of focus.

Contiweb will now become an independent company under the ownership of American Industrial Partners, with its operations headquartered in Boxmeer in the Netherlands

Contiweb managing director Bert Schoonderbeek says: “We will continue to build upon our successful relationship with both Goss and Manroland and are looking forward to continuing the cooperation as a strong partner of the combined company as we pursue other diversification opportunities. Contiweb’s separation marks a new era for further growth of the company.”


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