Heidelberg buys the rest of Gallus

New anchor investor, Ferdinand Rüesch from Gallus Group Illustration: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG

GERMANY In a move that was expected but a long time coming, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG has acquired the remaining 70% equity interest in Gallus Holding AG, the Swiss company that under the ownership of the Rüesch family had pioneered much of the technology in the narrow web market.

The complete takeover is being effected by a share swap and re-issue of new equity, which will see Ferdinand Rüesch become what Heidelberg is calling ‘an anchor investor’.  The move is designed to provide the new organisation with an enhanced capital structure for the development of new technology and growth into expanding markets, and will give Heidelberg added leverage in the labels and folding carton sectors.

The timing of the move is perfect for Heidelberg’s declared intention to unveil later this year a new digital printing system using Fujifilm technology.  Under the new shareholding arrangement, Ferdinand Rüesch’s 9% equity stake is seen as a key to securing ongoing support for the new brand in a sector that has always been core business.

Speaking for Heidelberg, Gerold Linzbach (CEO) commented: “The full acquisition of Gallus will further enhance the cooperation of the two companies.  Together, we will continue to foster development in the growing market for digital label production.”

What effect this will have on narrow web press market is as yet unclear, but it is symptomatic of the rationalisation that is taking place elsewhere in the package print supply chain, as consumer buying habits change and brands respond to new requirements.  Who wins in that situation is often hard to tell.

Read about the Groups organization strategy here: Heidelberg initiates next stages of Groups reorganization

Nick Coombes

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