First 100 Days: New Ownership at Atlas Converting Equipment

KEMPSTON, BEDFORD, UK | When Atlas Converting Equipment underwent a Management Buy-Out (MBO) from its previous Swiss owners, Bobst Group, it happened on Oct. 25, 2010—only 24 hours before the opening of K’2010. The show in D├╝sseldorf, Germany, is a strategically important exhibition that plays host to the world’s plastic industry every three years, with the next edition slated for Oct. 16–23, 2013. New management felt the event was vitally important for the successful launch of the new venture for Atlas and Titan slitter/rewinders, which are widely recognized in the global converting market.

The two companies agreed to share the already planned exhibition space at K’2010, which allowed the introduction of a new corporate identity for the first time alongside its former parent company.  The shared exhibit space also provided proof positive to K visitors that negotiations and the transition period following the transaction were nothing but completely amicable.

Says Alan Johnson, managing director of Atlas Converting Equipment, “Our initial focus was to communicate the changes to our employees and our customers. The K show was an ideal platform to meet with key customers face-to-face and explain the structure and strategy for our business.

“All our stakeholders have given very positive feedback, and this was confirmed during the exhibition with sales contracts in excess of €5m being signed and many constructive discussions regarding future business,” Johnson commented.

The acquisition included the UK business and assets in both North America and China with four individuals involved in acquiring 100% of the company, each with equal ownership shares. Three of the directors will continue in their former positions, including Alan Johnson as previously mentioned; Stan Braycotton as sales and marketing director; and Tom Walker as finance director. Stephen Darlington, former managing director of Bobst Group (UK Holdings), is now chairman of the new Atlas Board. After the extraction phase from Bobst Group concludes during the first half of 2011, Darlington will remain on a part-time basis as a non-executive director, but in all other respects, the company’s existing operational management team will continue in place.

100 Days & Counting
Now a little over 100 days since the MBO announcement, managing director Johnson says the company continues to focus on its customers and to complete the transition efficiently from Bobst Group without affecting customer service. He expects that the company’s sales and service facilities in North America and China will be fully operation within the first six months of 2011.

“It is our intention to continue investment within the organization, particularly in technology and service,” says Johnson. “An example of this is a significant investment in a new 3D CAD engineering design system which will be installed in the coming months.”

Strengthening its position as a market leader that offers a range of products and service to meet their customers’ requirements will take priority, while offering differentiation within the marketplace, explains Johnson. The company has installed about 3,500 primary and secondary slitter/rewinders in over 70 countries, including 2,500 Titan and over 1,000 Atlas machines. Established in 1976, the company has a long history and is committed to supporting its customers “for the long term future,” Johnson adds.

Present & Future Plans
An established sales and service network has been retained to continue serving the US, Southeast Asia, and China, but the UK sales base will be further strengthened while the company’s presence in other world locations will experience added service and sales support. This is expected to widen the company’s presence in the market with dedicated personnel and a broadened agency network.

As for sales since the MBO announcement, Braycotton says the order book for primary slitters is nearly full with a backlog for 2012 starting to build. One South American order included three Atlas primary BOPP film slitters at 8.3 m wide and six secondary slitters, including three Atlas CW800 machines at 2,850 mm wide and three Titan SR8 duplex cantilever slitters at 2,050 mm wide.

The company exhibited in January at ArabPlast in Dubai, UAE, and Interplastica in Moscow, Russia. Future shows include ICE USA (April 6–8) in Orlando, FL, where a Titan ER610 compact slitter will be demonstrated, and Chinaplas (May 17–20) in Guangzhou, China, as well as ICE Europe (November 8–10) in Munich, Germany.

A new website is currently under construction which is expected to launch in Q1, and other multimedia and sales support materials will be introduced later this year.

For more information, contact Alan Johnson at +44 1234 852553 or alan.johnson@atlasconverting.com.


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