Esko sells off Kongsberg

Esko is to sell its Kongsberg cutting tables business to the American private equity firm OpenGate Capital, which aims to expand the product offering and grow the tooling and consumables side of the business.

The Kongsberg C66 cutting table comes with i-cut Production Console.

Kongsberg was founded in Norway in 1965, and acquired by Barco, which later morphed into Esko in 1998. It proved to be a timely acquisition, with the first UV flatbed wide format printers just starting to appear.  As the printers became faster, so customers quickly found that a digital cutting table was a must-have accessory when printing to rigid boards to ensure that the finishing could keep up with the printing. Esko also oversaw an expansion into the packaging market, developing a number of tools for working with corrugated boards.

Mattias Byström, president of Packaging and Color Management Companies Pantone, Esko, X-Rite and AVT, explained: “Esko is concentrating our efforts on delivering end-to-end workflow solutions for our customers across the packaging supply chain: from brands to premedia to packaging printers and converters. With a sharpened focus, we can accelerate our delivery of integrated software and hardware technologies to help our customers digitize, automate, and connect their operations so they can realize the growth and efficiency that digital transformation offers.  I am confident that OpenGate will be a strong, strategic home for Kongsberg, and that the employees who will transfer with the business will thrive in their new home.”

Neither side has revealed the terms of the deal, which has yet to fully close. Nonetheless, the planned sale includes the original research and development facility in Kongsberg, Norway and the production facility in Brno, Czech Republic. There will be a new company, Kongsberg PCS, with Stuart Fox, currently the director of digital finishing at Esko, set to become president. Around 400 of the current Kongsberg staff will transfer to the new venture so that customes shouldn’t see too much disruption. The new standalone company will also take over the relevant relationships with resellers. 

OpenGate Capital was set up in 2005 and is based in Los Angeles, California though with a European office in Paris, France. It specialises in the acquiring businesses and growing their value through operational improvements, innovation, and growth.. So far the company has made more than 30 acquisitions including corporate carve-outs, management buyouts, special situations, and transactions with private sellers across North America and Europe.

OpenGate Capital’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Nikou stated: “I am pleased to have the vote of confidence from Esko on a promising investment opportunity in the packaging sector. We look forward to welcoming all of the Kongsberg employees into our expanding, global portfolio and working alongside them to support business objectives and build on the company’s success.”

You can find out more about Esko here and about the acquisition from

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