Esko to sell Kongsberg to PE firm

Richard Stuart-Turner
Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Esko is set to sell its Kongsberg digital finishing business to private equity firm OpenGate Capital.

Reseller relationships for Kongsberg tables would be transferred to the new company
Reseller relationships for Kongsberg tables would be transferred to the new company

The Belgian manufacturer, which makes integrated software and hardware products for the packaging, label and wide-format sectors, announced the planned sale yesterday (15 December).

It is subject to any applicable information and/or consultation with employee representative bodies under applicable local law.

The deal would include the original research and development facility in Kongsberg, Norway and the production facility in Brno, Czech Republic.

Mattias Byström, president of packaging and colour management companies Pantone, Esko, X-Rite and AVT, said the business is “concentrating our efforts on delivering end-to-end workflow solutions for our customers across the packaging supply chain: from brands to pre-media to packaging printers and converters”.

He added: “With a sharpened focus, we can accelerate our delivery of integrated software and hardware technologies to help our customers digitise, automate, and connect their operations so they can realise the growth and efficiency that digital transformation offers.

“I am confident that OpenGate will be a strong, strategic home for Kongsberg, and that the employees who will transfer with the business will thrive in their new home.”

Headquartered in Los Angeles, California and with a European office in Paris and investments on five continents, OpenGate Capital has made a number of other print and packaging related acquisitions since it was established in 2005.

These include Fusion Paperboard, a manufacturer of recycled paper products, speciality tapes manufacturer Duraco, high-quality speciality papers manufacturer Kotkamills, and white top testliner paper producer NorPaper.

Kongsberg was founded in Norway in 1965 and was purchased by Esko (then Barco) in 1998.

Esko said customers with Kongsberg systems “can expect business as usual”, as most of the employees who currently serve them would continue to do so as part of the new standalone business.

Reseller relationships would also be transferred to the new company, Kongsberg PCS [Precision Cutting Systems], meaning that customers who purchased Kongsberg tables through resellers would also benefit from uninterrupted relationships.

Stuart Fox, one of the digital finishing specialists moving from Esko to form the Kongsberg PCS leadership team, will become president of the new company.

He said: “We are excited about this change and the new opportunities it brings for Kongsberg to accelerate growth with new customers.”

OpenGate Capital said it sees opportunities for growing the Kongsberg business beyond packaging applications, by expanding its product offering and growing its tooling and consumables offering.

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