Top Ten of 2012: Manroland (7)
Tuesday, 25 December 2012
It felt something akin to throwing in the towel when at the end of 2009, when the then MD of Manroland GB Norman Revill announced it was restructuring the business to focus on service and consumables in response to the declining sales of new presses.
No hardware at Ipex 2010 followed, then the failed search for a buyer and finally insolvency, meaning 2012 would see the business winnowed to its essential parts.
That a large German conglomerate such as Possehl Group picked up the much reduced web division was not the most unlikely of outcomes, but a £400m turnover engineering group based in Nottingham buying the sheetfed side was unexpected.
The GB business was split along the same lines, and all before Drupa, which was marked by the sale of the world's largest commercial web – from Manroland Web Systems.
With further staff reductions and an executive merry go round, what we really wanted to see were the numbers. While hardly an open book we did receive the assurance that the sheetfed business, under the stewardship of Langley Holdings, was trading cash positive.
The only outstanding element of the story was the web parts manufacturing Plauen site which had operated under the administrator since the break up of the business. Without a buyer, closure became the only option, expected to go ahead early next year.
Still, Langley chairman Tony Langley suggested that the restructured businesses were now far better adapted to cope with a landscape of much lower demand than rivals with "disproportionate costs" – it may ultimately be the market that decides whether Manroland's second coming will turn out a blessing or a curse for Heidelberg and KBA.
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