Heidelberg sells Gallus Group to benpac holding Switzerland

Heidelberg realignment continues apace

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Gallus Group
Heidelberg sells Gallus to benpac Holdings, Switzerland Photo Heidelberg

On 22 July 2020, Heidelberg (Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG) announced it was systematically pursuing its realignment. Having decided to focus on its core business of sheetfed printing, Heidelberg is selling the Gallus Group to the Swiss packaging business benpac holding ag in Stans while facing up to the challenging situation created by Covid-19.

In the future, Heidelberg and benpac will work together closely on the Gallus Labelfire digital label press. Heidelberg will continue supplying the digital printing unit (DPU) and consumables for this press.

“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 be retaining our in-house digital expertise and, by collaborating with benpac on the Gallus Labelfire, we will also be making further progress with the digitization of conventional presses. At the same time, we will remain a major supplier on the growing label market with our sheetfed offset presses,” says Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer.

The transaction will see benpac assume ownership of Gallus Holding AG in St Gallen, Gallus Ferd. Rüesch AG in St. Gallen, Gallus Druckmaschinen GmbH in Langgöns, Heidelberg Web Carton Converting GmbH (WCC) in Weiden in der Oberpfalz, and Menschick Trockensysteme GmbH in Renningen – five sites with a total of some 430 employees in Germany and Switzerland. With an agreed purchase price of some 120 million Euros, Heidelberg expects the deal to generate earnings in the mid-two-digit million-Euro range. The parameters will be finalized at the time of closing. The sale, which still needs to be approved by the relevant bodies and is subject to other condition precedents, is set to take effect before the end of 2020.

“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,” underlines Heidelberg CFO Marcus A. Wassenberg.

Heidelberg to continue to manage Gallus sales and service 

benpac and Heidelberg have agreed that Heidelberg will continue to manage the sales and service of the Gallus portfolio in close cooperation after the takeover. Therefore, Gallus customers will continue to benefit from the proven quality and reliability of the world’s largest service network in the print media industry.

“The acquisition of the Gallus Group is of great strategic importance for benpac holding ag. 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,” said Marco Corvi, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of benpac holding ag.

With production facilities in Switzerland and Germany, Gallus develops and manufactures both conventional and digital narrow-web rotary label presses. The machine portfolio is complemented by a range of screen-printing plates (Gallus Screeny), decentralized global service activities, and a comprehensive selection of accessories and spare parts. Heidelberg Web Carton Converting provides high-end webfed printing solutions for folding cartons.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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1 COMMENT

  1. benpac holding ag based in Switzerland, is active in the fields of filling, capping, injection moulding, labeling and paper-based packaging machinery systems. Last year, the group took over one of Müller-Martini’s operations in Stans and since uses this centrally located site as a base for some of its activities in Switzerland. At the same time, the group, with some 3150 employees in Europe and the Americas, took over Packsys Global Thailand, renamed benpac packaging, specialized in high-speed aerosol tube production and filling lines.

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