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MAN Roland blueprints its independent future

Thursday, 06 April 2006
By Print21

Buoyed by the recent billion euro order from News International for 22 COLORMAN format XXL presslines, Gerd Finkbeiner, CEO,(on right) raised the prospect of a permanent MAN Roland maintenance presence in newspaper plants all over the world.

At an IPEX 2006 press conference for the newly independent company, he offered a brave new world without guarantees – “the world is not right anymore for guarantees,” – based on a doubling of service revenue, a determined effort to increase its sheetfed press market share and the development of a full automated printing process for its web presses. Backed with cash from its new major shareholder, Allianz, the company is set to embark on a drive for grow that will include acquisitions of companies that have products and services to fill any gaps in the plan to be a full printing service provider. The growth is considered essential if the company is to meet its objectives of going public on the stock market within five to seven yeas.

In a frank presentation, Finkbeiner declared that the move by MAN to divest itself of its printing press division was driven by capital markets that have “no wish to understand the benefits of a conglomerate.” However he presented the move as the successful culmination of a campaign by himself and senior management to cut the press manufacturer loose from the huge manufacturing group.

According to Finbeiner, not the least of the benefits of the sale is to stop the speculation about the future of the sheetfed division. He confirmed the present management will stay in place and the process of cost removal from its manufacturing operations will continue. While acknowledging the emotional impact of the company’s transfer on its workforce he refused to give any guarantees on their future employment.

Among the new business activities the company is looking to drive its growth, Finkbeiner identified providing services, under the new brand, printservices, as the key area. At present such areas as maintenance, training, capital and process implementation, spare parts and consumable sales represent 15 per cent of the company’s revenue, a figure he want to double in the shortest possible time. Such a revenue stream “helps to balance the usual cycles of our business,” he said.

In the effort to increase its appeal to the commercial printing market, MAN Roland showed a number of new configurations of its presses at Birmingam including

  • a four-colour version of the compact Roland 500 small-format press, optimized for packaging with carton guides to permit trouble-free production of full solids on substrates up to 0.8 mm thick.
  • a ten-colour ROLAND 500 with a sheet turning system and a maximum speed of 15,000 per hour
  • a six-colour ROLAND 700 with coating module and InlineFoiler and
  • a larger format Roland 700 3B plus with a maximum sheet size of 780 x 1040 mm with an image area of 770 x 1030 mm.
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