The deal was confirmed this afternoon (6 December).
Both manufacturers are family-owned. In a statement, they said that the merger was the result of careful consideration on all sides.
The Hunkeler family and Crédit Mutuel Equity have sold all their shares to Muller Martini.
Muller Martini employs 1,300 worldwide and makes a range of finishing systems including binding lines and stitchers used for commercial print, books, mailings and publications. It was founded in 1946 and is headquartered in Switzerland, and also has operations in Germany.
Hunkeler was founded in 1922 and employs 280. Its pre- and post-press systems are used extensively in high-speed digital printing applications.
The Swiss-headquartered firm has also achieved considerable success with its biennial Hunkeler Innovationdays event.
Muller Martini CEO Bruno Müller commented: “The graphic arts industry is constantly changing and regularly calls for new innovations. By combining the key components of the two companies, such as personnel, expertise and technology, we will be able to serve our global clientele even better with innovative solutions in the future.”
Stefan and Michel Hunkeler said: “There is a long-standing partnership between Hunkeler and Müller Martini and a regular exchange. The opportunity for the merger is currently greatly beneficial for both partners and our joint customers, as it will result in considerable advantages in a combined enterprise.
“This is also a strong commitment for the Zofingen region.”
During World War II Hans Müller worked for Hunkeler as a mechanical engineer prior to setting up his own business in 1946.
“These good relations have been maintained for decades. The local proximity in the Zofingen region and the already existing and successful partnership in the machine and component business form an ideal starting point for even closer cooperation in the future,” the firms stated.
In the UK, Muller Martini has an operation in Langley while Hunkeler is represented by longstanding partner Friedheim International.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Update: This morning (7 December) Muller Martini CEO Bruno Müller told Printweek that the Hunkeler name and the Hunkeler Innovationdays event would be retained.
“Hunkeler remains a separate organisation as an important new member of the Muller Martini group,” he stated.
Turnover was not disclosed for either organisation, but he conformed that “both companies are profitable”.
Regarding the enlarged group's plans in terms of distribution partners versus direct sales, he said: “The future global market coverage for sales and service will be defined carefully over the coming months as part of an integration project.”
Image shows from left to right: Stefan Hunkeler (president of the board of Hunkeler), Michel Hunkeler (delegate of the board of Hunkeler), Bruno Müller (CEO Müller Martini), Rudolf Müller (owner and member of the board Müller Martini), Daniel Erni (CEO Hunkeler), and Franz Hunkeler (patron of Hunkeler).