Goss and Manroland Web Systems have agreed a merger that will create a single company supplying publication web offset presses for newspapers and magazine and catalogue applications. The deal is expected to be completed by the middle of this year.
The move, like that to bring the Kolbus perfect binding lines into Muller Martini, will ease margin pressure caused by too many suppliers chasing too few orders. While Koenig & Bauer, Komori and TKS will remain active in the web offset market, the agreement between Goss and Manroland Web Systems brings together the companies that have been most active in web offset printing.
The new business will be under the shared ownership of Possehl group, which rescued the German press business from administration and American Industrial Partners which returned Goss to US ownership after it had been acquired by Shanghai Electric. There are no details on which will have the larger stake.
An announcement talks of extensive synergies, value oriented solutions and creating a viable business for the long term. “The new company will benefit from the companies’ complementary footprints,” it continues. Goss is stronger in the US, Manroland Web Systems in Europe, where CEO Alexander Wassermann says: “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 continues to manufacture machines in the US, having closed factories in Asia, France and the UK in recent years. Manroland Web Systems has its production plant in Augsburg and will gain from greater access to the US where it has in the past encountered allegations of dumping after complaints led by Goss.
However, there will also be a consolidation in the production portfolio. Both companies have been strong in ultra wide web offset presses, Goss with the Sunday 5000 and Manroland with the Lithoman IV machines. In recent years, the German company has scored the greater number of orders. Both have 16pp and 24/48pp machines and have developed compact newspaper press formats.
Both have also been interested in the packaging sector with Goss developing the Valpak machines and Manroland recently showing a group of prospects the Varioman. While the US concept is a web fed litho carton press using its gapless blanket technology, the Varioman is a press custom built combining its own expertise with third party technology, the first press for example has gravure units as well as offset and is intended for flexible packaging. This has also been put to good use in the Formerline and Foldline as finishing lines to run with high speed inkjet web presses.
Both companies have been active in upgrading and adapting existing press installations. This is seen as a fruitful area for the new business. “E-commerce activities will be a major area of focus,” says the joint statement. Manroland has already set up an internet shop. It will also continue to offer a broad product range across newspaper, commercial, packaging and digital printing sectors.
The new business will not include Contiweb, once a Goss operation but spun off into a separate company last year. It will continue to provide reel stands and splicers, ovens and sheeters to the new business and other press providers. Contiweb will also continue to own and operate the Thallo variable cut off web press for packaging.
The Goss Sunday technology will now fly under a different flag as two leaders in web offset printing, Goss and Manroland Web Systems agree a merger to reduce competition in a shrinking market for high volume commercial and newspaper presses.