Esko, a global developer of integrated software and hardware options for the packaging, label and wide format sectors, is to sell its Kongsberg digital finishing business to private equity firm OpenGate Capital.

OpenGate Capital is a global private equity firm specialising in the acquisition and operation of businesses to create new value through operational improvements, innovation and growth. Established in 2005, OpenGate Capital is headquartered in Los Angeles, California with a European office in Paris, France. To date, OpenGate Capital, through its legacy and fund investments, has executed more than 30 acquisitions including corporate carve-outs, management buyouts, special situations, and transactions with private sellers across North America and Europe.

Kongsberg was founded in Norway in 1965, and Esko – then Barco – purchased the business in 1998. The current planned sale includes the original research and development facility in Kongsberg, Norway and the production facility in Brno, Czech Republic. OpenGate Capital sees opportunities for growing the business – Kongsberg PCS – beyond packaging applications, expanding the product offering, and growing the tooling and consumables offering.

Existing customers with Kongsberg systems can anticipate ‘business as usual’, with most of the employees who currently serve them continuing to do so as part of the new stand-alone business. Reseller relationships will also be transferred to Kongsberg PCS, meaning customers who purchased Kongsberg tables through resellers will have uninterrupted relationships.

The new Kongsberg PCS company is to be led by Stuart Fox, future president. He is one of many seasoned digital finishing experts moving from Esko to outfit the Kongsberg PCS leadership team. ‘We are excited about this change and the new opportunities it brings for Kongsberg to accelerate growth with new customers,’ said Mr Fox.

Mattias Byström, president of packaging and colour management companies Pantone, Esko, X-Rite and AVT, commented, ‘Esko is concentrating our efforts on delivering end-to-end workflow solutions for our customers across the packaging supply chain, from brands and pre-media, to packaging printers and converters. With a sharpened focus, we can accelerate our delivery of integrated software and hardware technologies to help our customers digitise, automate and connect their operations so they can realise the growth and efficiency that digital transformation offers. 

‘I am confident that OpenGate will be a strong, strategic home for Kongsberg, and that the employees who will transfer with the business will thrive in their new home.’