Interprint parent mulls business division's sale or financial partner

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PITTSFIELD — The family-owned German company that owns Interprint Inc. is looking to either sell the entire division of its business or bring in financial partners to help run it, a spokesman for the company's Pittsfield plant said Friday.

Wrede Industrieholding of Arnsberg, Germany, is offering the division that includes Interprint as "a package," said Peter Stasiowski, the company's director of communications in Pittsfield. Interprint, one of the world's leading printers of decor materials, has 1,300 total employees, and production facilities in the U.S., China, Germany, Malaysia, Poland and Russia. Interprint was established in 1969; Wrede was founded in 1880.

"Essentially, the owner is getting to retirement age, and his sons and daughters are not interested in continuing to run the Interprint business from a global standpoint," Stasiowski said. "They're looking to sell it or [take on] a business partner. I'm not sure if it will change hands. They may seek an investor for day-to-day operations."

Wrede's industrial holdings are divided into two divisions: a decorative services division led by Interprint and a household products division that includes a company that is one of Europe's largest manufacturers of plastic household articles.

In a statement, Thomas Wrede, managing director of the Wrede Foundation who managed the entire company until 2015, said circumstances within his family have necessitated the move.

"After intensive assessment and discussion, we reached the understanding that the next generation will not take over responsibility for Interprint," Wrede said.

New roles

Noting that he, his father and his grandfather all have built up different parts of Wrede Industrieholding, Wrede said: "No one should be pushed into a role that is taken on only by a sense of duty and tradition. In the end, this would harm everyone. ... I have built up Interprint, and the next generation shall build something new and of their own."

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"Once we have found an appropriate and passionate successor for the shareholder role, it is still to be decided if we will jointly continue or place all shares in their hands," he continued. "When selecting an investor or partner, our top priority will be to ensure the future growth and worldwide expansion of the Interprint Group."

Interprint's parent company made the decision to put the division on the market at the end of last year, Stasiowski said. The company's 180 Pittsfield employees have been informed of Wrede's intentions.

"It was received as well as I think it could be," Stasiowski said.

"We know that we're in an area that's been besieged by bad news when it comes to things like this. But this is not a GE or a KB Toys," he said, referring to two large former Berkshire employers who shut their local operations and either left the area or went out of business. "It's a change in ownership."

Whatever happens, executives in Pittsfield do not expect any changes to occur locally, because Interprint's Pittsfield facility is one of the entire division's top performers, Stasiowski said.

In 2018, Interprint invested $12.2 million in its Pittsfield facility on Route 41, a sum that included the purchase of a $10 million state-of-the-art printing press, which is expected to be up and running this year. A change in company ownership will not effect any of those investments, Stasiowski said.

"The investments we have planned are all moving forward, including the $10 million printing press to support our film business," he said. "We expect it to be operational by the third or fourth quarter this year."

Interprint made a 27,000-square-foot addition to its Pittsfield plant in 2017, a solar array in 2016, and a new product line in 2012. Interprint built its $27 million facility on Route 41 in 2006.

Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.


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