Friedheim International is to lose its long-standing distributorship of the MBO line of finishing equipment as a consequence of a decision at global level by MBO owner Komori to sell exclusively via its subsidiaries, with effect from 1 September 2021.

Friedheim will continue to support the current installed UK and Ireland base of some 500 – 600 MBO machines and any new customers who buy before the end of August but after that it appears the support responsibility will fall to Komori UK. The new arrangement will also apply to MBO subsidiary Herzog+Heymann (H+H).

In a letter to existing MBO customers, Friedheim managing director Mark Bristow wrote:

‘I have been trying to agree a longer handover period as we realise better than anyone what skills and resources are needed to support this product range. It may also be unlikely that Komori will be fully resourced by 1st September. However this is a global corporate decision made by remote business owners. Therefore I regret it has been a decision I have not been able to influence or delay.

‘As you know we have represented the MBO Group with great success and dedication since its inception 54 years ago and have considerable resources and expertise at our disposal. As a condition of the handover all warranty and service contracts will continue to be supported as hitherto by Friedheim International and MBO and any sales orders secured prior to September will also be fully supported by Friedheim and MBO throughout the warranty period.

‘We will continue to work to support the UK customer base long after the change of distributor becomes formal. We also believe that this may provide us with some flexibility with regards to spare parts supply.’

While the MBO departure will undoubtedly leave a hole in Friedheim’s portfolio, the company said that its sales had been declining as a proportion of the overall business due to the growth of other divisions, and noted that recent sign-ups including specialist Swiss mixing technology company WAB Group had been very successful, plus Hohner in January, Young Shin Die Cutters and a forthcoming line of ‘box one demand’ systems from Zechini.

MBO was acquired by Japanese press manufacturer Komori in early 2020. In addition to an extensive line of offset presses, it offers two digital models, the B2 Impremia S29, a rebadged Konica Minolta KM-1, and the B1 Impremia NS40, which is based on Landa Nanoink technology; the latter was to have been officially launched at drupa 2020. Komori UK’s headquarters are in Leeds and the company plans to expand it sales and service teams to support the MBO and H+H product lines.


Steve Turner, managing director of Komori UK, commented, ‘The success and strong established customer base of MBO gives Komori the exciting opportunity to deliver and support market unique products, which perfectly complement the existing portfolio of Apressia guillotines, offset and digital printing equipment, and K- Supply consumables, enabling us to provide customers old and new with a comprehensive tailored solution for their production requirements.’

Thomas Heininger, CEO of MBO Postpress Solutions added, ‘For MBO, Komori is a financially strong partner that stands for reliability, security and sustainability. Even though the acquisition by KOMORI means that some of our business processes are in a state of change, our customers will benefit in the long term from the new connection between the two companies. Above all, the acquisition has brought calm to the market. Friedheim International is one of the trade partners we have been working with for decades. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all Friedheim employees from the bottom of our hearts for their loyalty and decades of service. We wish Friedheim continued success.’