Heidelberg sells part of German HQ site

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Heidelberg

Heidelberg is selling off a chunk of its main Wiesloch-Walldorf site in Germany and will make around €50m (£45m) from its latest asset sale, with more space at the facility earmarked for future disposal.

The Wiesloch-Walldorf site is some 840,000sqm in total. Heidelberg is initially selling around 130,000sqm to specialist developer VGP Group, which will turn it into a new industrial and commercial park.

A further 140,000sqm is slated for future sale, meaning Heidelberg’s occupation of the site will eventually shrink by some 32%.

Rainer Hundsdörfer, CEO of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen said the manufacturer would reduce its costs, and would be able to use the remaining space more efficiently.

“In addition, we will use the funds this frees up to strengthen our liquidity in times of the Covid-19 pandemic and to press ahead with strategic investments for the future on the path of our digital transformation,” he stated.

The deal is the latest in a string of Heidelberg sell-offs as the group retrenches and focuses on its core business.

It has brought in nearly €200m through asset sales this year.

Heidelberg sold its pressroom chemicals business to Druck Chemie earlier this month, MIS developer Cerm in August, and label press manufacturer Gallus in July.

Wiesloch-Walldorf is about nine miles south of the town of Heidelberg. It incorporates the “largest and most modern printing press factory in the world” as well as Heidelberg’s corporate HQ. It also includes the customer demonstration centre for commercial and packaging printing, and the group’s Innovation Center, which opened two years ago.

A company spokesman explained that the sale involved some of the older buildings at the facility.

“We sold so-called ‘old’ halls, former production and assembly halls. The space left for further sales also contains old halls as well as some area of the current parking lots,” he said. 

Around 5,000 Heidelberg employees work at the site.

“We are concentrating the Heidelberg business in the newer halls on the site, which has already been done in part. VGP intends to rapidly implement its concept for a modern industrial and commercial park and will probably already start partial demolition of the buildings during the coming year,” the spokesman added.

VGP is headquartered in Belgium and operates 76 industrial parks on the continent, 31 of which are in Germany.

Heidelberg made the announcement after the close of trading yesterday evening (23 December). The German DAX stock exchange is closed today.