Wifag Restructures: Newspaper Press Business Retains Autonomy

By: E&P Staff Swiss press maker Wifag, which traces its history to 1904, announced that 20-year Management and Supervisory Board President Ursula Wirz, as majority shareholder, has decided on changes to ensure the company's long-term independence.

The changes were implemented by resolution at an extraordinary shareholders' meeting last week. Wifag said that shares owned by Wirz will be placed in the Ursula Wirz Foundation (where Wirz initially will chair the board of trustees) and designated to provide "sustained security for the corporate future of the independent Wifag-Polytype Group."

The Wifag Group's companies are being consolidated in a joint new legal parent company, Wifag-Polytype Holding AG, Bern, Switzerland. For this purpose, the current company Wifag is to be converted into a holding company. Its Supervisory Board consists of the current members of the Wifag Supervisory Board. Its President is Ulrich Zimmerli.

The newspaper printing press business has become Wifag Maschinenfabrik AG, which is described as a newly founded company but with headquarters in its current location. Goetz Stein will be president of the supervisory board of Wifag Maschinenfabrik AG, which retains its full corporate autonomy.

Within Bern-based Wifag Maschinenfabrik are its manufacturing operations and Wifag companies in Germany and France. Under Wifag-Polytype Holding is a separate Wifag Holding in the Netherlands. Within Fribourg-based Polytype Holding are Polytype Converting in Switzerland and subsidiaries in the United States and Thailand. Polytype supplies converting, stamping, dry offset and other equipment for non-publication production.

Before the restructuring Maschinenfabrik Wifag was the parent company of Polytype Holding and Wifag Holding BV (Netherlands). Now, as Wifag Maschinenfabrik, "the new company and supervisory board can wholly concentrate on the core activity, i.e., newspaper printing presses," according to an e-mail statement from the company supplied by Sales Director Noel McEvoy. Wifag Polytype Holding is responsible for group functions and strategies.

All contractual relations of the current Wifag will be transferred to Wifag Maschinenfabrik AG, which also will assume all rights and obligations arising from these relations.

Wifag said the measures "have no direct consequence" for its business partners and employees.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here