09 February 2020 Business

Komori agrees deal to buy MBO

The Japanese press manufacturer believes that acquisition of MBO's folders and finishing equipment will strengthen the portfolio of products as digital connectivity becomes strategically important.

Komori has agreed a deal to acquire MBO, less than a year after Heidelberg's bid to buy the folder and finishing equipment company was stymied by German competition authorities.

This deal will have to be considered by the same cartel office, but is unlikely to be blocked. The deal was agreed on 6 February and, assuming there is no delay, could be completed as soon as 1 April, the start of Komori’s new financial year. Unlike Heidelberg, there is no overlap between MBO and Komori, making an inquiry by the cartel office unlikely.

The Japanese company has spoken about a shift in direction to include M&A activity and to reduce dependence on litho printing presses. It has expanded into digital printing and printed electronics and, like Heidelberg, offers consumables and finishing equipment to complement its core business. Komori has begun to build a range of finishing equipment that sits alongside its presses. It offers a range of guillotines under the Apressia brand and distributes Highcon digital die cutters in Japan.

MBO is squarely in the commercial print sector, with its Herzog + Heymann brand specialist in folding pharmaceutical leaflets. It also supplies reel handling and finishing systems for digital print.

The deal has been welcomed within MBO. Its existing owners have wanted to bow out of the business, leading to the proposed sale 18 months ago. Assuming this deal is approved, MBO will have a committed owner with the financial resources and inclination to invest.

In a statement issued to announce the deal Komori talks about the potential for linking MBO’s technology, already IoT enabled, into Komori’s KP-Connect environment, providing customers with the possibility of seamless connectivity between press and finishing. “Komori is also looking to develop new solutions through the combination of the MBO Group’s technologies and Komori’s DPS, offset printing presses and other key products,” it says.

This will not affect MBO’s existing distribution networks which will be reassured by the financial stability and security that the change in ownership represents. Certainly in the UK, Mark Bristow, managing director of Friedheim International, has welcomed the announcement.

“It’s a positive move,” he says. “When the Heidelberg acquisition was blocked, the question was what would be the next step.. The companies have the same engineering focus on quality. This is much more positive than acquisition by Heidelberg would have been.”

MBO had sales of €51.7 million in 2018, its most recent filed accounts, with manufacturing in Germany and Portugal.

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MBO can build the largest folders in the world.

MBO can build the largest folders in the world.

Komori has reached agreement to buy MBO as the story of the German finishing equipment producer enters another chapter. The deal will provide finance stability and the resources for further development as well as giving Komori access to new customers and expanding its equipment portfolio.

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