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Crabar/Witt Acquires GBF

April 2003
DAYTON, OH—Crabar/Witt, based here, has purchased the assets of GBF Graphics, Skokie, IL, along with GBF's Arrow Business Forms & Labels, Emergency Forms & Graphics and GenForms & Labels. Crabar/Witt is a leading supplier to distributors for printed products, which include custom cut sheets, 50˝ jumbo rolls, continuous forms and snap-out forms. Crabar/Witt manufactures short-, medium- and long-run order sizes.

The acquisition will allow Crabar/Witt to provide direct mail, integrated labels, variable data, digital on-demand printing and a varied combination of complex forms solutions. As a result of the acquisition, Crabar/Witt will add $50 million in revenues, giving Crabar/Witt the ability to serve its customers nationwide.

"Our customers are asking us to give them new products and services," says Roger Brown, president of Crabar/Witt. "Now we can. This is what separates our company from the majority of other forms manufacturers selling to the trade."

GBF Graphics does a reported $61.7 million in sales, has 370 employees and six locations. Crabar/Witt does an estimated $32 million in sales, has 205 employees and four locations. The GBF operations will add four production facilities—Cerritos, CA; Medfield, MA; Princeton, IL; and Skokie, IL—to the current Crabar/ Witt group, which include locations in Bellville, TX; Edison, NJ; El Dorado Springs, MO; and Leipsic, OH.

All operations will continue under the company name of Crabar/Witt, according to Brown. The biggest change, Brown emphasizes, is the competition direct manufacturers will experience as a result of this acquisition. "We will supply our trade partners with a very strong case to sell to any one of [a major's] customers nationwide," says Brown.

Dick Kuntz, president of GBF Graphics, will remain active as a consultant to the new company. He will be involved in planning new products, maintaining customer contacts and contributing at trade shows. He has signed a five-year contract with the company.

Kuntz, who has been in the business for about 52 years, admits that the downturn in the U.S. economy contributed to his decision to sell GBF. "Our industry is undergoing major changes that require the need for newer technology. In order to keep up, one has to spend millions of dollars on current equipment. The stock market has been going down for the past three years and, because of the Internet and e-mail, the printing industry has suffered greatly," he explains.

"People can pay their bills over the Internet now. Basically, they don't require a form in a stamped envelope to pay them anymore," he adds.


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