German press manufacturer Heidelberg is continuing to systematically pursue its realignment, to focus more on its core business of sheetfed offset printing. As part of this strategy, the OEM is selling its Gallus Group subsidiary to Swiss packaging business benpac holding ag, located in Stans, Switzerland. Moving forward, Heidelberg and benpac will work together closely on the Gallus Labelfire Digital Label Press, with Heidelberg continuing to supply the Digital Printing Unit (DPU) and consumables for this particular press.
“We are selling our narrow-web rotary and rotary flexographic printing activities to focus more closely on innovative solutions for the entire printed sheet value chain,” said Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. “We’ll be retaining our in-house digital expertise and, by collaborating with benpac on the Gallus Labelfire, we’ll also be making further progress with the digitization of conventional presses. At the same time, we’ll remain a major supplier to the growing label market with our sheetfed offset presses.”
The transaction will see benpac assume ownership of Gallus Holding AG in St. Gallen, Gallus Ferd Rüesch AG in St. Gallen, Gallus Druckmaschinen GmbH in Langgöns, Heidelberg Web Carton Converting GmbH (WCC) in Weiden in der Oberpfalz, and Menschick Trockensysteme GmbH in Renningen – five sites with about 430 employees in Germany and Switzerland. With an agreed purchase price of 120 million euros, Heidelberg is expecting the deal to generate earnings in the mid-two-digit, million-euro range. Details will be finalized at the time of closing. The sale, which still needs to be approved by the relevant jurisdictions and is subject to other precedents, is set to take effect before the end of 2020.
“Our aim is to ensure the long-term financial stability of Heidelberg, and all the measures since our transformation started in March of this year have been geared toward this objective,” said Heidelberg CFO Marcus Wassenberg. “Selling the Gallus Group is another key part of our realignment and follows on from the successes we’ve achieved so far during the transformation process. This further major boost to our liquidity and group equity will be a big help, especially during the coronavirus crisis.” Benpac and Heidelberg have agreed that Heidelberg will continue to manage the sales and service of the Gallus portfolio in close cooperation after the takeover. Gallus customers will therefore “continue to benefit from the proven quality and reliability of the world’s largest service network in the print media industry,” Heidelberg added.