Heidelberg has sold the Gallus label press business, as the press giant continues its strategic realignment to stabilise the company, focus on its core sheetfed offset presses, and develop new market opportunities.
Gallus is now owned by Benpac, a Switzerland-headquartered business with 3100 employees, which bought the Muller Martini manufacturing site in Switzerland last year. Benpac paid €120m for Gallus.
Gallus boss Ferdinand Reusch, well known on these shores thank to frequent visits over the years, is going with Gallus.
Here in ANZ, Gallus is headed up by Dierk Wissman at Heidelberg, which will continue. Heidelberg will remain as the sales and servicepartner of Gallus here and around the world.
The deal covers the whole Gallus business, which operates across five sites, with 430 staff, in Switzerland and Germany. Heidelberg will continue to supply Gallus with the digital printing unit and consumables for the Labelfire press, which it developed with Fujifilm.
Benpac produces filling machines, cappers, labelling solutions, plastic injection moulding technology, and paper-based packing technology. Three weeks ago, former long-time Heidelberg board member Stefan Plenz joined the Benpac board.
Speaking at the company's AGM held yesterday, Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer said: “We are pressing ahead with the realignment and making great strides: reducing net financial debt, strengthening equity, streamlining the organisation and focusing on profitable core activities.”
Heidelberg shares rose by 7 per cent to €0.68 following the Gallus news. Heidelberg first invested in Gallus in 1999, taking a 30 per cent stake. In 2014 it bought the remainder of the company from owner Ferdinand Reusch, making him the biggest shareholder in Heidelberg, with 9 per cent of the company. At the time, the shares were worth four times today's value.
Marcus Wassenberg, CFO at Heidelberg said, “Our aim is to ensure the long-term financial stability of Heidelberg, and all the measures since our transformation started in March this year have been geared toward this objective.
“Selling the Gallus Group is another key part of our realignment and follows on from the successes we have 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.”
The move to offload Gallus comes just weeks after Heidelberg decided to pull out of its Primefire 106 digital sheetfed B1 press project, and to cease manufacturing large format 145cm and 162cm presses, to focus press manufacturing on its B1 and B2 sheetfed business.