UPDATE: Goss International Sold to Shanghai Electric

By: Jim Rosenberg

Chinese mechanical and electrical equipment manufacturer Shanghai Electric (Group) Corp. (SEG) will acquire 100% ownership of press manufacturer Goss International, exercising an option established when it became a company shareholder last September. Goss International majority shareholder MatlinPatterson Global Opportunities Partners and others will sell their shares in the company as part of the transaction.

The ownership change is expected to be completed in mid-June, on a date to be set when the board meets later this week, according to Goss International Marketing Manager Greg Norris.

No immediate management changes are anticipated. “There won’t be anything related to the acquisition — nothing planned right now,” said Norris. With CEO Jochen Meissner and other executives spending most of their time at the company’s New Hampshire facilities, it remains unknown if the suburban-Chicago corporate headquarters in Bolingbrook, Ill., will be retained.

The announcement by Goss said the acquisition by SEG will give it “an industrial owner with substantial resources and accelerate cooperation among SEG-affiliated printing equipment suppliers within a unique worldwide network.”

Founded in the 1880s, Goss International supplies web offset presses and finishing systems for newspapers, magazines, catalogs, inserts, direct mail and packaging. The company has development and manufacturing operations in the United States, The Netherlands, France, Japan and China. The company also retains its plant in Preston, England, though it no longer is a new-press manufacturing site. The former factory for the Global Colorliner press saw significant staff reductions over the past few years.

As Scott, Wood-Hoe and eventually Harris closed down, Goss was left as the only U.S. manufacturer of both large and small newspaper presses and related equipment after it was acquired by Rockwell International. The company again became independent and privately held, and after passing in and out of bankruptcies was stabilized under its current ownership, which also acquired most of the newspaper business of Germany’s Heidelberger Druckmaschinen.

Already selling the Mercury singlewide press, Heidelberg entered the U.S. market for large newspaper presses in the 1990s with its Mainstream one-around doublewide press. Today, a former Heidelberg factory in New Hampshire is the only Goss manufacturing facility in this country. Goss plants in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Reading, Pa., were closed several years ago.

SEG has 60 core manufacturing sites and more than 40,000 employees. Its 2009 revenues came to $8.6 billion.

Besides its joint venture with Goss in China that has produced several web press models since 1993, SEG has subsidiaries operate in various sectors, including power generation and transmission, electromechanical equipment, heavy machine tools, transportation equipment, environmental protection systems and automatic instrumentation. Printing and packaging machinery companies produce Akiyama, Purlux, Guanghua, Yawa, Shen Wei Da and Feida printing, finishing and auxiliary components for the world market.

Full ownership of Goss International will create opportunities for Goss and SEG joint product development initiatives, sales and support integration and enhancement in some regions, and optimized manufacturing operations throughout America, Asia and Europe, according to SEG Chairman Xu Jianghuo.


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