The Chinese manufacturer Masterwork has increased its stake in Heidelberg to around 8.5 percent of Heidelberg’s share capital under a cash capital increase from authorized capital excluding shareholder subscription rights.
The new shares have been priced at €2.68 each. Heidelberg has said it will use the money generated to accelerate its digital agenda in terms of new products, processes and business models, as well as for general business financing.
Masterwork, based in Tianjin, is China’s largest manufacturer of die-cutters and hot-foil embossing machines. The company has had a close postpress partnership with Heidelberg for a number of years and acquired Heidelberg’s postpress packaging technologies back in 2014, though Heidelberg continues to sell these globally.
Li Li, president of Masterwork, explained: “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.”
The deal is still subject to approval by the relevant bodies on both sides and the Chinese authorities but should be finalized by the end of this quarter. Heidelberg is also considering whether to take a shareholding in Masterwork.
Rainer Hundsdörfer, Heidelberg CEO, commented: “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 utilization 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.”
Heidelberg is hoping to use the partnership between the two companies to grow its share of the packaging printing market in China. This includes linking Masterwork’s postpress machines to the Heidelberg cloud to use production data to boost customers’ productivity. Heidelberg already supplies the Asian market from its facility in Qingpu, near Shanghai, which was set up in 2006. But it will also start manufacturing components at the Masterwork site in Tianjin in the future.