Heidelberg steps up activities in packaging market and gains potential strategic anchor shareholder
Heidelberg is looking to further improve its market position in the growing packaging printing segment by taking its long-standing sales partnership with Masterwork Group Co., Ltd. (Masterwork), China’s largest manufacturer of die-cutters and hot-foil embossing machines, to a whole new level. Based in the Chinese city of Tianjin, Masterwork is to obtain around 8.5 per cent of the Heidelberg share capital under a cash capital increase from authorised capital excluding shareholder subscription rights. The implementation of such capital measure is subject to approval by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG’s supervisory board.
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 issue price of the new shares is set to be EUR2.68. If the market price significantly outstrips the envisaged issue price, this will be renegotiated in line with statutory requirements. The funds Heidelberg generates with the capital increase are to be used to accelerate its digital agenda (digitizing products, processes, and business models, for example) 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.
‘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 utilisation 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,’ commented Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer.
‘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,’ says Masterwork President Li Li.
Heidelberg and Masterwork, which is listed on China’s Shenzhen stock exchange, have operated a close postpress 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 postpress equipment for the folding carton industry. Back in 2014, it acquired the postpress packaging technologies of Heidelberg, which retains responsibility for global sales and digital customer relations. The possibility of linking Masterwork’s postpress machines to the Heidelberg cloud is a big advantage when it comes to realizing the value proposition of using production data to boost customers’ productivity. Packaging 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 postpress 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. What’s more, there are plans for closer collaboration focusing on the two companies’ value chains. Heidelberg will continue to supply the dynamic markets in China and the rest of Asia from the site in Qingpu, near Shanghai, that 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.