Muller Martini acquires Hunkeler

Switzerland companies specialize in postpress equipment for digital market

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Müller
From left to right -- Stefan Hunkeler (President of the Board of Hunkeler AG), Michel Hunkeler (Delegate of the Board of Hunkeler AG), Bruno Müller (CEO Müller Martini AG), Rudolf Müller (Owner and Member of the Board Müller-Martini AG), Daniel Erni (CEO Hunkeler AG), Franz Hunkeler (Patron of Hunkeler AG)

Müller Martini Holding AG has acquired all of the shares of the Hunkeler Group, including those held by the Hunkeler family and Crédit Mutuel Equity.

There’s some overlap between the two companies, who both specialize in postpress equipment for the digital market and are both based in the Zofingen region in Switzerland. Hans Muller originally worked for Hunkeler as a mechanical engineer before setting up his own business in 1946 and founding the company Hans Müller / Grapha.

Bruno Müller, CEO of Muller Martini, explained: “The graphic arts industry is constantly changing and regularly calls for new innovations. By combining the key components of the two companies, such as personnel, expertise, and technology, we will be able to serve our global clientele even better with innovative solutions in the future.”

For their part, Stefan and Michel Hunkeler acknowledged the long-standing partnership between the two companies, adding in a joint statement: “The opportunity for the merger is currently greatly beneficial for both partners and our joint customers, as it will result in considerable advantages in a combined enterprise. This is also a strong commitment for the Zofingen region.”

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Nor has there been any word as to what will happen to the Hunkeler brand name, or what consolidation will take place among the product line-up, or any potential job losses though I’ll update this story if more information becomes available.

Muller Martini employs 1300 people worldwide and has developed a wide range of print finishing equipment for the production of books, magazines, catalogs, mailings and newspapers. The company introduced two new lines at this year’s Hunkeler Innovation Days. These included a new Prinova digital saddle stitcher, which is designed to fit into an automated digital production workflow. Muller Martini also showed the latest version of its Vareo Pro perfect binding line with a new mixed mode for producing mixed softcover end products and hardcover book blocks in the same production run without changeovers. 

Hunkeler, which was set up in 1922, has around 280 staff worldwide and mostly concentrates on advanced pre- and post-solutions for high-performance digital printing systems.

Update

Muller Martini has since added further information to its original press release to clarify some of the questions that journalists have been asking. Thus the Hunkeler brand name will continue, as well as the Hunkeler company, which will continue to operate from its base in Wikon, Switzerland, complete with the current staff and management, led by Daniel Erni, who succeeded Michel Hunkeler as CEO in January 2023.

Muller Martini has also said that the Hunkeler Innovation Days event will continue unchanged, adding: “We intend to continue business with other finishing companies that currently partner with Hunkeler.”

The statement noted: “The current day-to-day business continues unchanged. Adjustments will be worked out together and implemented in a controlled manner. International business will continue as normal via the current channels until further notice.” However, the statement continued: “In the coming days, we will launch an integration project in which the merger of the two companies will be worked out together. Findings and measures will be communicated regularly and managed by a steering committee.”

Muller Martini concluded: “We are firmly convinced that print products have a promising future. Our expanded solutions portfolio as well as our even greater consultancy expertise resulting from the merger of these two great companies will better position us to address the opportunities and benefits of the ongoing digital transformation in the market. As a result, we are an even stronger partner for end-to-end finishing solutions, particularly in the growth segment of short-run book production.”

You can find further details from hunkeler.ch and mullermartini.com.

Republished by permission from www.nessancleary.co.uk

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