Esko (Ghent, Belgium), a global developer of integrated software and hardware solutions for the packaging, label and wide-format printing sectors, has announced the planned sale of its Kongsberg digital finishing business to OpenGate Capital (Los Angeles, California), “subject to any applicable information and/or consultation with employee representative bodies under applicable local law.”
The planned sale includes the original research and development facility in Kongsberg, Norway and the production facility in Brno, Czech Republic. OpenGate Captial is a private equity firm with a European office in Paris and other investments spanning five continents. Kongsberg was founded in Norway in 1965, and Esko (then Barco) purchased Kongsberg in 1998.
“Esko 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,” said Mattias Byström, President of Packaging and Color Management Companies Pantone, Esko, X-Rite and AVT. “With a sharpened focus, we can accelerate our delivery of integrated software and hardware technologies to help our customers digitize, automate and connect their operations, so they can realize the growth and efficiency that digital transformation offers. I’m 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,” Byström added.
Customers with Kongsberg systems can expect business as usual, since 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 Kongsberg PCS, meaning that customers who purchased Kongsberg cutting tables through resellers would also benefit from uninterrupted relationships. The new Kongsberg PCS company will be led by Stuart Fox, future President of Kongsberg PCS. Fox is one of many seasoned digital finishing experts moving from Esko to complement the Kongsberg PCS leadership team. “We are excited about this change and the new opportunities it brings for Kongsberg to accelerate growth with new customers,” Fox added. OpenGate Capital said that it sees opportunities for growing the Kongsberg business beyond packaging applications, expanding the product offering and growing tooling and consumables lines.