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  • 28 Jan 2019

Heidelberg steps up activities in packaging market with extended Masterwork relationship

Heidelberg steps up activities in packaging market

Heidelberg and Masterwork have extended their long-standing sales partnership, with the Chinese manufacturer of die-cutting machines and hot foil embossing machines become a strategic anchor shareholder.

Based in the Chinese city of Tianjin, Masterwork is to obtain around 8.5 percent of Heidelberg share capital under a cash capital increase from authorized capital excluding shareholder subscription rights. The implementation of such capital measure is subject to approval by Heidelberg’s supervisory board.

Heidelberg is seeking to further improve its market position in the growing packaging printing segment. The proposed capital increase provides the opportunity for Heidelberg to acquire a further strategic anchor shareholder with a long-term investment horizon as well as to strengthen its equity.

Subject to approval by the relevant bodies on both sides and the Chinese authorities, the capital measure should provisionally take place by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2019.

The funds Heidelberg generates with the capital increase are to be used to accelerate its digital agenda and for general business financing.

Masterwork supports the Heidelberg strategy and is demonstrating its clear commitment to long-term collaboration. Heidelberg is currently considering and discussing whether it will seek to obtain a shareholding in Masterwork.

Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer said: ‘The Heidelberg management board and supervisory board are delighted that our long-standing, successful collaboration with Masterwork is to become much closer. This opens up further potential in the growing packaging printing segment, especially in China – the world’s largest individual market.

‘We are expecting better capacity utilization at our plants across the globe to make us far more efficient, but I would like to stress that this will not weaken our sites in Germany. We are delighted that in Masterwork we are obtaining another long-term investor that firmly believes in the company’s innovative prowess, strategy, and potential for the future.’

Masterwork president Li Li added: ‘Heidelberg is our ideal partner for jointly leveraging growth potential in the packaging printing market. The stake we are obtaining in this long-established company and world market leader underlines that we are in it for the long haul and are confident Heidelberg has adopted the right strategy.’

Heidelberg and Masterwork have operated a close post-press partnership for a number of years, turning print products into folding cartons for the packaging market. They also benefit from a long-standing, successful sales collaboration.

Masterwork specializes in post-press equipment for the folding carton industry. Back in 2014, it acquired the post-press packaging technologies of Heidelberg, which retains responsibility for global sales and digital customer relations.

Package printing is expected to enjoy above-average growth in the coming years. Heidelberg already holds a leading position in this segment in Europe and the Americas, while Masterwork is one of China’s leading post-press suppliers for packaging. The closer ties are set to significantly strengthen this position in China – the world’s largest packaging market – and in other regions, too. 

Heidelberg will continue to supply markets in China and the rest of Asia from its site in Qingpu, near Shanghai, which it established back in 2006. As a result of the closer working relationship with Masterwork, it will also benefit from joint component manufacturing operations at the Masterwork site in Tianjin in the future. This will provide both companies with a whole host of possibilities for improving their efficiency.

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