Chicago – Manroland Goss web systems CEO Alexander Wassermann talked to attendees of the ING conference, held Sept. 28–29 at The Hyatt Regency in Chicago.
Wassermann was named CEO with the merger in August. He specializes in developing strategies for engineering companies in declining markets and steering their transitions into service companies.
At the conference, he addressed the company’s recent merger and trends in the industry. Below is a sampling of what Wassermann said.
“The newly-merged manroland Goss company will share a commitment to web-fed printing, mailroom, and finishing solutions with a global service advantage,” manroland Goss CEO Alexander Wassermann told conference attendees.
“I absolutely believe that this is an industry where still a lot of money can be earned for all of us,” he said. “We are here to help you earn that money and that is what our vision is all about,” he told ING attendees. “We are absolutely committed to this industry. “Not so surprising is that the merger between Goss and manroland has been on the table many times. This is actually the fifth attempt to merge the companies over the last 20 years,” he said.
“The history of both companies means a lot of different press manufactures have merged into this group and we have retained all the intellectual property of those companies. We can offer parts, service and maintenance to those presses if there is a need. On the newspaper side, the group will continue to keep the Uniset, Colorman and Geoman presses in the portfolio. Due to the strong relationship with China, we will also retain the ability to deliver the Magnum, Magnum Compact and Community press portfolio,” Wassermann said. “We are not going to develop new presses, however we are investing research and development money into engineered solutions, mainly for automation needs such as closed-loop systems, drives and controls. We believe that engineered solutions are a very strong market segment going forward and recapturing the Goss newspaper business, which was lost in North America is part of this business segment, but also we will be extending our reach into none OEM presses. In addition, we will continue to invest in web offset t packaging presses broadening our portfolio.”
Possehl and AIP
The new company has two shareholders: the Possehl Group, which holds 51 percent of the shares and American Industrial Partners (AIP), which retains the remaining 49 percent.
The Possehl Group is an investment company based in Germany, which is backed by a private trust and was founded 100 years ago. American Industrial Partners (AIP) is a private equity company with $11.3 billion in sales. Contiweb, one of manroland’s commercial web division’s largest partners, was not included in the newly formed company. “AIP has kept Contiweb in their holdings for now,” Wassermann said. “However, they are our largest supplier and we are their largest customer.” I am sure our partnership will continue.
“We are a German company, and so the executive team is a German team which consists of former manroland executives. But obviously, we have become a much more global company and just last week we had our first global managers meeting with the folks from all world,” he said.
“Our reach is much more global than it has been before. We do have some sites that overlap and we are still synergizing facilities in the United Kingdom, China, and Australia. Goss maintains a facility in Japan for maintenance and service of our Japanese clients, which represents a six to seven million euro a year business,” Wassermann said.
“Our global headquarters will be based in Augsburg, Germany, our biggest site. The Americas headquarters will be in Durham, New Hampshire. We will support all the products and services for North America from the Durham location,” he said.
“After the merger we have approximately 1,050 employees, coming down from around 1,250 prior to the merger. We recently announced that we will stop building new presses in Durham and will consolidate the new press business to Augsburg,” Wassermann said.
“But the new press business is only roughly one-third of our total revenue. Our service segments represents two-thirds of the revenue of the new company. We will have 450 global technicians on the road. We have developed a centralized system to watch over our technician activity on a daily basis. Over one hundred of the service techs will be based in North America/Durham,” he said. “In five years we hope to move from a two-thirds service company to a three-quarters service company.
“Manroland Goss has a 79 percent market share for new web offset presses,” he said. “Our industry is not very easy to finance and capital equipment needs stable financing. We don’t have any external financing; it’s all through our main shareholder. Which means we are very good and stable going forward.
“The total orders in new presses for the first eight months of 2018 are approximately $185 million. That figure represents newspaper and commercial combined sales activity combined,” Wassermann said.
“I do not think that the consolidation period is over for the vendor community. Next year or the year after will continue to bring consolidation, not necessarily on the original equipment manufacturer side but in other areas,” he told attendees.
The new manroland Goss will consist of four segments.
“System Solutions will focus on highly automated press and post-press equipment to create sustainable success for today’s print operation. To insure the most effective levels of quality and waste reduction for customers, the manroland Goss Group is continuing to focus on the development and manufacturing of printing systems that support existing production needs and open the doors of possibility for new business models. System solutions from manroland Goss are supported by certified pre-owned solutions as well as existing press relocations,” Wassermann said.
“Throughout the portfolio, this segment provides mechanical upgrades, automation, control systems, drives and closed–loop solutions for all types and brands of web presses. The engineering teams based in Durham, Preston and Augsburg will allow us to offer more efficient solutions,” he said.
“With its increased presence of international service hubs spanning the globe, the manroland Goss merger has allowed us to create an even tighter net of comprehensive support for our customers. The focus will be on utilizing the combined expertise of our 450 service tech team of talented engineers. The motivation is to continue to develop services to provide the highest level of excellence through accurate and efficient service, competitive pricing for parts and labor, comprehensive remote tools and TeleSupport, and service agreements to increase uptime on a 24/365 basis. We receive 10,000 service calls into our Telesupport Center a year and we can now get 98.3 percent of the presses back up and running without dispatching an engineer. We are employing Maintellsense (maintenance, intelligence and sensors), with the ability to help predict maintenance and intelligence to determine which parts to exchange and how to predict downtime. We believe should be of great value to our users,” he said.
“We have just opened a common parts trading platform, which offers a one-stopshopping experience to users. Market-X provides highly efficient parts deliveries and is a marketplace for all suppliers to the web offset industry.
“With the new trading platform, costs can be reduced. Customers will be transferred to other dealers and we will take a small cut from the transaction,” Wassermann said. “All manroland Goss original parts will be marked with MGWS so that clients know it is an original part and not a pirate part.
“Previously, only our users that have manroland web equipment could tap into the store, however in the last couple of months we have opened the store to be a common trading platform. Any supplier can put their parts into the store and any customer can access the store. It’s going to become a real open trading platform for this industry and we hope that it also creates lots of interest in North America. The store is scheduled to open end of the first quarter of 2019. There will be two major customer service and distribution centers, in Durham and Augsburg.
“We want to keep both cultures alive and get the best out of both,” Wassermann said of the merger. p
Possehl and AIP