Watkiss Automation has been acquired by rival manufacturer Plockmatic Group, which also owns Morgana.
The Stockholm, Sweden-headquartered group completed the acquisition of Sandy, Bedfordshire-based Watkiss on Monday (10 September).
The move follows Plockmatic’s 2013 acquisition of Milton Keynes-based Morgana, which took the company into the offline bookletmaking market, and its 2016 purchase of Italian bindery kit manufacturer KGS Bindery.
Plockmatic said its acquisition of Watkiss, which develops and manufactures high-end bookletmaking systems, extends the group’s range into that market segment. According to its most recent accounts, the business had sales of £6.9m.
Watkiss machines are sold by OEM partners worldwide under the PowerSquare brand. The business also sells offline bookletmaking systems through a worldwide network of dealers, as well as a range of finishing products through its direct sales team in the UK.
The firm’s recent launches include the PowerSquare PSQ160, which operates both offline and inline and supports the landscape booklet format, and the PowerSquare 160-WH, which is targeted at the A4 landscape market.
Watkiss, which was previously owned by the Watkiss family, will now become a wholly owned subsidiary of Plockmatic International and will be part of the Plockmatic Group.
Plockmatic chief executive Jan Marstorp will head up the expanded group of companies and will act as managing director of Watkiss going forwards.
The existing Watkiss management team will remain in their roles and some members of the Watkiss family will remain with the business, at least during the transition phase, according to Plockmatic Group vice-president of inline systems Scott Russell.
“Morgana, Plockmatic and Watkiss have all had a mutual admiration society for a number of years – the three companies have talked together and know each other well, so I think this came out of a series of conversations about what might be best for the business and the customers going forward,” said Russell.
“We’re seeing a growth in bookletmaking applications in the inkjet-enabled cut-sheet segment. Inkjet has made digital print for longer runs for catalogues, magazines, brochures and other documents more cost-effective and we wanted to be there. Watkiss is already inkjet-ready and performing well around the world on a number of these emerging devices.
“The Plockmatic Group can now address a larger number of the growing applications, both in terms of page count by going higher volume with Watkiss, and across the spectrum of applications with creasing, binding, perforating, etc, provided by Morgana, all optimised for digital.
“I think one of the biggest aspects of this is that Plockmatic has built a worldwide supply chain and a worldwide product management, sales, technical support and marketing organisation that Watkiss fits very well into – the idea is that we will be able to offer Watkiss products to even more people.”
Watkiss sales director Paul Attew added: “Our team has spent years building a business around our customers’ requirements. We believe Plockmatic is best-positioned to look after our customers and serve new ones. We know the business is in great hands, and Plockmatic has what it takes to grow it to its full potential.”
The Plockmatic Group of companies is part of Grimaldi Industri Group, a diversified Stockholm-based holding company.