Goss International’s printing press business and Manroland Web Systems are to combine, with Contiweb set to become a standalone company.
The two web offset press manufacturers - previously arch rivals - said they are planning to combine their businesses to benefit from their complementary geographic footprints, create extensive synergies, ensure long-term viability, and provide “value-oriented solutions”, particularly in the area of aftermarket services.
Both companies have faced significant challenges due to the shrinking market for large-scale web offset and newspaper presses.
Subject to regulatory approval, the merger is expected to be completed by the middle of 2018. It will not impact any current business of both companies.
The current shareholders of Goss International and its owner American Industrial Partners, and Manroland Web Systems and its owner Possehl Group, will continue to co-own the combined company.
Manroland chief executive Alexander Wasserman said: “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.”
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.”
The combined company will further 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.
Additionally, the expansion of the business with retrofits and upgrades, and the systematic expansion of e-commerce activities will be major areas of focus.
Goss International’s Contiweb business, which offers drying and web-handling products, is not included in the transaction.
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 said: “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.”
Sales and service channels at Contiweb will remain unchanged until the transaction closes.
Walstead Group runs multiple presses from both Goss and Manroland Web Systems across its business. Its most recent purchase was a huge Goss Sunday 5000 96pp press for Spanish site Rotocobrhi, which came out of Polestar Sheffield.
Chairman Mark Scanlon told PrintWeek: "This is a good and inevitable move. The whole of the paper chain needs to consolidate including machine manufacturers and material suppliers, and not just us printers."
A wave of kit manufacturer consolidation has taken place across the industry of late. In January, Kolbus sold its perfect binding and book line business to Muller Martini while Fujifilm and Xerox agreed an industry mega-merger that will, if successful, see Xerox become part of an enlarged Fuji Xerox.