Heidelberger Druck is not allowed to take over MBO

Cartel Office prohibits merger

The Federal Cartel Office has prohibited the mechanical engineering company Heidelberger Druck from acquiring the MBO Group. This was announced by the authorities in Bonn. The reason for the rejection was a dominant position on the market for sheet-fed folding machines. There are a total of four companies in Europe for this purpose. Andreas Mundt, President of the German Federal Cartel Office, explained that a takeover would be detrimental to competition and customers.

Rainer Hundsdörfer, CEO of Heidelberger, was disappointed: “We take note of the decision with regret and are going our way, even if we have a different view of the future market position of the combined company”.

Heidelberger Druck expects slower growth

With a merger, both companies wanted to equip themselves for the digital future and offer their customers a better portfolio. However, a takeover is not yet off the table, as the decision of the Cartel Office is not yet legally binding. MBO and Heidelberger can still file an appeal against the prohibition at the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court.

It is not yet known whether the companies will take this step. Initially, the two companies will continue their business separately.

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen employs over 11,500 people worldwide and generated sales of 2.42 billion Euros in 2017/2018. With sales of over 2.49 billion Euro, consolidated sales for 2018/2019 are also higher than in the previous year (+3 percent). However, the Group expects slower growth for the 2019/2020 business year. The merger of the Austrian industrial company Miba and the German metal processor Zollern was also prohibited by the antitrust authorities. Both companies even filed for ministerial approval. A decision is still pending, but Zollern is putting politicians under pressure and threatened with dismissals.