Mists begin to clear at Manroland

Jo Francis
Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New month, and a new era begins for what was Manroland. Administrator Werner Schneider met his deadline in having some sort of solution in place by the end of January. Well, at least a formative one.

The Augsburg web offset business, which always looked like the most saleable part of the group based on the ongoing service and support requirement alone, has a new owner in the shape of Possehl Group. Possehl also owns mailroom systems specialist B?we Systec (acquired from the same administrator, as it happens), and B?we is also headquartered in Augsburg so that should be convenient in terms of Possehl's nascent print division.

'Manroland Augsburg' (at the moment it's not clear whether the Manroland name will continue, but it appears likely it will do in some form) will be reduced in size by a third to 1,473 staff, previously it employed 2,248.

How Possehl will implement the worldwide support structure required to meet the needs of the existing customer base will be the next interesting thing. Closely followed by whether it does eventually take over the Plauen factory too (number of employees there cut by 57% to 300). In the meantime Werner Schneider will continue to run it under some sort of extended administration.

The solution for the Offenbach sheetfed facility could be described as being in a formative stage. The number of employees will be reduced by nearly 60%, from 1,807 to 750. We're told there's an MBO deal underway but the investment required to back it is still to be secured. So there's still a deal of uncertainty about the future for this facility, although what does seem pretty certain is there's no way it will be able to continue manufacturing the same range of press formats as the Manroland of old.

At the time of writing the worldwide sales and service operations remain in a form of limbo. Hopefully the next few days will bring further clarity for staff and customers.


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