Web press giants Manroland Web Systems and Goss International are now one business, with the successful completion of their merger just taking place. The new combined company will operate under the brand name Manroland Goss Web Systems.

Market forces dictated the merger, with the web offset market worth a fraction of what it was pre-GFC, most estimates say the number of heatset and coldset web presses sold these days is only between 10 and 20 per cent of that a decade ago, with sales of newspaper webs in particular having collapsed.

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In Australia manroland has become the dominant market player over the past decade, with almost all web offset presses installed here since 2008 coming from the Augsburg factories.

The new company Manroland Goss has more than 1000 staff and will be headquartered  in Augsburg, with current manroland Web Systems CEO Alexander Wassermann becoming chief executive of the business, while his Goss counterpart Mohit Uberoi takes a place on the Board.

In Australia Manroland Web is a sales and service agency owned by the German operation and headed by Dennis Wickham, which sells and services both web and sheetfed presses.

Both businesses have been through the mill in recent years, Goss spent a couple of years in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US, while manroland Web Systems is half of the former manroland that went broke five years ago and split into two, the web business being bought by German industrial conglomerate  Possehl Group, whilen the sheetfed arm was bought by a UK industrialist..

The number of web offset manufacturers has been shrinking for some time, Goss itself bought Heidelberg’s web offset business, which it had bought from Harris some 30 years ago. KBA still manufactures web presses but sales are few and far betrween, while a trio of Japanese manufacturers Komori, Mitsubishi and TKS see little success outside their domestic market.

First announced on 1 March, the two web offset press manufacturers – previously arch rivals – said they have come together to form a global market presence and offer a broad product range, technological excellence, long-term comprehensive customer support, and e-business in the web-fed printing market.

Effective from Friday (17 August), the combined company, which will operate under the brand name Manroland Goss Web Systems, said it “will work actively with all customers on a positive development of the web-fed printing business”.

Manroland Web Systems chief executive Alexander Wassermann will become chief executive of the new company, with its global headquarters in Augsburg, Germany and North American headquarters in Durham, New Hampshire.

Mohit Uberoi, previous chief executive of Goss International, will remain with the business as a board member and will assist the management team with business integration.

The current shareholders of Manroland Web Systems and Goss International, Possehl Group and American Industrial Partners (AIP) respectively, will both remain shareholders of the new company, supporting the established business-building strategy.

The Contiweb business, which offers drying and web-handling products, as well as Manroland’s web production business are not included in the transaction and will remain independent as AIP and Possehl portfolio companies, respectively.

Wassermann said: “Both Manroland Web Systems and Goss International were on a sustainable path to success. We will strengthen this path by increasing our global reach, continuing our innovative and focused R&D activities, and enhancing our market presence through targeted consolidation.

“Our customers will be able to choose from an even broader portfolio of products and services, supported by the industry-leading e-commerce platform Market-X.”

Manroland Goss Web Systems will concentrate on four main business areas. System Solutions will encompass highly-automated press and post-press equipment, including pre-owned offerings and press relocations, and Engineered Solutions will focus on mechanical, automation and closed-loop systems for all types of presses.

Service Solutions, meanwhile, will offer “best-in-class service” in parts, labour, tele-support and performance-based service agreements while E-Commerce Solutions is an electronic marketplace that will offer efficient ordering and logistics performance for all suppliers to the web offset industry.

The company, which will employ more than 1,000 staff, said it will leverage both firms’ successful structural and technological developments of recent years within new product development.

It also intends to develop a lean business structure in line with overall market trends to build a strong business platform for the future.

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