The web printing press manufacturing landscape just contracted: Goss International and manroland web systems announced today that the two companies will merge.

The merger is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be completed by the middle of 2018, according to the companies’ press release. Also, the Contiweb business of Goss International is not included in the merger. The current shareholders of manroland, Possehl Group (Lübeck), and of Goss, American Industrial Partners (AIP), will continue to co-own the combined company. [Update: shortly after the Goss announcement, Contiweb announced it would become an independent company under the ownership of AIP].

“Since the web offset markets shrunk dramatically in recent years, this merger makes perfect sense,” said Manfred Werfel, Deputy CEO of WAN-IFRA and in charge of the World Printers Forum. “This is the fact-based outlook. The other question will be how well the merger will be managed and how quickly the different organisations and cultures can be integrated. Time will tell.”

“Goss International as well as manroland web systems are both focussing on web presses for newspapers and commercial applications,” Werfel continued. “Different to other press manufacturers, they are not servicing the sheet-fed markets. Together they will be able to offer a broader product range to a wider customer market. Geographically, both partners are complementing each other as well.”

Alexander Wassermann, CEO of manroland said in the press release: “manroland is on the path for continued success. We want to continue to develop this path by creating synergies, fostering the further development of our R&D activities and strengthening our innovation focus. Our customers will be able to choose from a wider portfolio of products and services."

Mohit Uberoi, CEO of Goss, also said: "This combination will enable us to achieve extensive synergies that will help us optimally serve our customers into the future. The combination will strive to provide a best-in-class product offering and customer service."
Both companies have a long history in the newspaper business but also are manufacturers and service providers of web offset printing systems for commercial products and packaging.

In 2012, the webfed division of manroland AG was acquired by the Lübeck, Germany-based Possehl Group and renamed manroland web systems. This acquisition came as a result of the collapse of the financial market, which saw the global market for offset printing equipment at approximately 2.2 billion euros in 2006 and 700 million euros in 2011.

Today, manroland has a broad portfolio, for both newspaper printing presses and commercial presses as well as finishing and packaging solutions for industrial digital printing. The company is based in Augsburg, Germany, with operations all over the world, about 900 employees.

Goss International, headquartered in Durham, New Hampshire, USA, has about 600 employees, supplying web offset presses and finishing systems for newspaper, magazine, catalog, direct mail, packaging and other printing applications. The company has operations in the US, The Netherlands, UK, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Australia. Through its Contiweb division, it offers auxiliary printing equipment including splicers, pasters and dryers.

Just a year-and-a-half ago, the private equity firm AIP completed the acquisition of Goss International and its subsidiaries from Shanghai Electric Corporation, which acquired Goss in 2010.