Press giant Heidelberg says its realignment strategy includes selling the Gallus Group to Swiss packaging business benpac for €120m ($210m).

The move forms part of Heidelberg’s realignment strategy. However, the giant press manufacturer will work with benpac on the Labelfire digital label press. Heidelberg will continue supplying the digital printing unit and consumables for the Labelfire.

Rainer Hundsdörfer, chief executive of Heidelberg, says, “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. We will retain our in house digital expertise and, by collaborating with benpac on the Gallus Labelfire, we will also make further progress with the digitisation of conventional presses. We will remain a major supplier on the growing label market with our sheetfed offset presses.”

The deal gives benpac five sites, with a total of 430 employees, in Germany and Switzerland. Heidelberg expects the deal to generate earnings in the mid €2m range. The parameters will be finalised at the time of closing. The sale still needs approval from the relevant bodies. If it meets all the conditions it will to take effect before the end of the year.

Long-term stability

Marcus Wassenberg, chief financial officer at Heidelberg, says, “Our aim is to ensure the long-term financial stability of Heidelberg. 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. It 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.”

Heidelberg will continue to manage the sales and service of the Gallus portfolio in close cooperation with benpac. Gallus customers will continue to benefit from what Heidelberg calls the proven quality and reliability of the world’s largest service network in the print media industry.

Marco Corvi, chief executive and chairman of the board of directors, of benpac, says, “The acquisition of the Gallus Group is of great strategic importance for benpac. It completes our overall range in the packaging sector and ensures that the entire value chain is covered. The expertise of the Gallus Group will contribute to the further development of our group of companies.”

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