Bobst Group to Buy Valmet Converting

BEDFORD, U.K.—Bobst Group SA, Prilly, Switzerland, plans to buy Metso Corporation's Valmet Converting Operations, according to a recent release from Metso Corporation. The Finnish-based paper industry company reports the signing of a memorandum of understanding of its intention to sell Valmet Converting Operations to Bobst. Valmet adds that Bobst Group is a major manufacturer of packaging machinery for the global market, particularly in the fields of folding carton, corrugated board, and flexible packaging.

According to Metso, the transaction, including due diligence, is intended to be completed during Q1 2003; the value of the transaction is approximately EUR 90 million. The planned divestment of the Valmet Converting Group is part of Metso's strategy to focus on its core businesses, the pulp and paper industry; rock and mineral processing; and process automation, adds Metso.

"[We] would like to emphasize, at this stage, the announcement concerns a memo of understanding, but it's expected that these negotiations will be brought to a conclusion within the next few months," says Valmet Converting's senior management. The following also was stated in Metso's release:

There is no change to the current trading position of Valmet Converting businesses, and [we] will continue to pursue existing business strategy and meet existing objectives for the months ahead. Day-to-day operations continue as normal and Valmet Converting continues to be part of Metso Paper Inc. until the successful closing of the transaction.

For the time being, Valmet and Bobst will continue as competitors for business in those products areas common to both companies—flexo and gravure printing presses. Relations between the companies also remain unchanged until closure of the transaction

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