Müller Martini has purchased the perfect binding and bookline segment of Kolbus, with the deal including service and spare parts for Kolbus bookbinding systems.

Roman Beeler, sales manager Australia, Müller Martini, says, “We will service and supply spare parts eventually, but as for when, it is unsure. “We should know in the next week to 10 days for how it will work on a country by country basis. For now it is business as usual.”

Beeler says, “It is early days, head office is  working through the deal, with variations existing between countries. At the moment the contract was only signed on Thursday. We need to go forward and keep all customers happy.

Kolbus will focus on its packaging and case making business, parts manufacturing and the foundry business, while remaining under the direction of CEO Kai Büntemeyer. Kolbus is one of the oldest business in the print industry, having started in 1775.

Bruno Müller, chief executive at Müller Martini, says, “Structural change has changed the graphic arts industry in recent years and our market has become much smaller and versatile at once.

“Customers need innovations on a regular basis, which have to be financed with lower sales quantities. Above all, our customers benefit from the efficiency gains bringing together the bookbinding activities.”

“The market changes are directly affecting our customers, which are faced with new business models like digitisation. By combining the potentials for success like personnel, know-how, technology and infrastructure of the two companies, Muller Martini can provide the market with innovative solutions in the long term. This secures the future of the softcover and hardcover business of both the customers and the two machine manufacturers – and thus also jobs in the graphic arts industry.”

The bookbinding business of Kolbus is transferred to the new business unit Müller Martini Buchbinde-Systeme, which will be integrated into the Muller Martini group with all dedicated employees as an independent factory with domicile in Rahden.

Büntemeyer is convinced that with this step Kolbus creates good opportunities for a successful future, and says, “In recent years, the packaging market was growing consistently. We see a good potential and will vigorously expand our current activities in this business. There are also very good perspectives in the segment of component manufacturing for sophisticated mechanical engineering companies including Müller Martini Buchbinde-Systeme and Kolbus Luxury Packaging.”

The move follows Muller Martini’s 2014 acquisition of the service and parts business relating to Heidelberg’s saddlestitching and adhesive binding products.

Kolbus took ownership of the Timsons T-Fold folder, the following year, a month after Timsons was placed in voluntary liquidation. It will retain this product under the new company structure.

Later the same year, Kolbus formed a partnership with Timsons Engineering to reinstate manufacturing of Timsons’ litho book printing presses.

The 250 Kolbus employees from the bookbinding department will be taken over by Muller Martini in Rahden at the same employment conditions. The staff in the packaging and case maker segments will continue to work for Kolbus.

Muller Martini, a family business that was founded in 1946, has its headquarters in the city of Zofingen (in the Swiss canton of Aargau), with 1800 employees.

The full range of graphic arts publications, from softcover and hardcover books through to magazines, catalogues, mailshots and newspapers, is produced worldwide using Muller Martini systems.

Kolbus was established 242 years ago, and has its headquarters in Rahden with three more sites. In the future, Kolbus says it will produce a large spectrum of case makers and machine modules for tight packaging from cardboard and paper – especially for the luxury goods market.

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