The PUNCH Group celebrates our 35th anniversary this year. Scroll down to see how it all began and discover our company histories that embody the same core values established at our founding.
The PUNCH history
The beginning: Guido Dumarey's entrepreneurial journey takes off with the acquisition of New Impriver in Ghent (Belgium). A company that specialised in producing metal name-tags and the anodisation of aluminium for the automotive industry, various household applications, and the IT sector.
Entering the consumer electronics market: Guido Dumarey founded Acyclon in Ghent and worked closely with Phillips electronics to produce telecommunication devices such as pagers.
He later re-developed and brought to life a two-way communication pager called ‘Scottie’.
The birth of the PUNCH name: Guido Dumarey developed the PUNCH brand. The first PUNCH company, PUNCH Products in Evergem (Belgium), built its own production site for machined punch metals. Activities included ‘punching’ grid-metal to create holes in speakers smaller than the thickness of the material (mainly galvanised steel). ‘PUNCH’ later became the name for the entire Guido Dumarey group.
Sony and Panasonic joined PUNCH as key partners: The success of the business of components and assemblies for electronics (including monitors and cathode-ray tubes) allowed PUNCH to invest in additional factories. The first investment was in the United Kingdom (PUNCH Precision in Brigdend), followed by expansions in Eastern Europe, most notably in Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. The PUNCH customer base grew to include Grundig, Hitachi, Sharp and Sanyo.
A stronger partnership: The PUNCH/Philips fortified following the establishment of PUNCH Électronique in Dreux (France). The company produced PCB assemblies for Philips.
PUNCH launches industrial activities: At the turn of the century, PUNCH was looking for new areas of growth. Staying close to its manufacturing roots, the company added injection-moulding capacity by purchasing Stevens (an injection-moulding specialist) and soon began with the construction of a new plant in Evergem. The new plant streamlined the PUNCH Products and Stevens operations into a single unit. The company continued to develop its plastics operations, acquiring Bruges-based Trelleborg, which later became PUNCH Plastics.
Continued growth with tech: In January 2000, PUNCH International acquired Strobbe Graphics, which supplied computer-to-plate pre-press systems for Agfa-Gevaert. PUNCH moved Strobbe into new and larger production facilities in Ypres, Belgium, in December 2000.
Extended PUNCH range of operations: In April of 2002, we extended our range of operations again with the acquisition of Xeikon. The Belgium-based Xeikon had been a leading global maker of digital colour production systems that had slumped into bankruptcy amid the general tech industry crash at the beginning of the 2000s. The PUNCH acquisition of Xeikon included the company's Belgian and U.S. operations and its Japanese sales and service subsidiaries. PUNCH immediately set out to revive Xeikon, relaunching its sales and service operations at a new headquarters in Lier.
Restructuring activities: PUNCH’s move into end products encouraged an exit from a number of its existing business. In 2002, PUNCH sold 51% stake of PUNCH Mécanique to the Valorics Group, and in 2003 sold off PUNCHtronics to the same company. In the same year, both the PUNCH Precision plant Brigdend and the PUNCH Plastic plant in Bruges were closed.
New business: PUNCH entered in a new business area by acquiring a milk robot system company called Prolion, quoted at the Amsterdam stock exchange, which it grew and later sold to Westfalia in 2008.
2nd IPO in London: The printing activities from Strobbe and Xeikon were merged to PUNCH Graphix, which was then successfully launched with PUNCH’s 2nd IPO at the stock exchange (AIM of London).
3rd IPO in Brussels: PUNCH consolidated its telematics companies into one specialized telematics group, named PUNCH Telematix, quoted on the Brussels stock exchange, and then sold to Trimble in 2010.
Expansion in China: PUNCH International acquired ZF Getriebe Sint-Truiden, a developer and producer of CVT transmissions. PUNCH International renamed the company Punch Powertrain (www.punchpowertrain.com) and in 2008, LRM enters the capital. Under Guido Dumarey’s leadership, Punch Powertrain started to update the product portfolio and developed a completely renewed customer base, particularly in China.
Trading in Amsterdam: Quotation of PUNCH Technix via Prolion (Amsterdam): PUNCH Technix activities were successfully contributed in-kind into Prolion.
Assembly in China: Punch Powertrain opens its assembly production site in Nanjing, China.
Divestment: Guido Dumarey is divesting a part of his stake in PUNCH International, and re-focusses on the development of automotive activities, out of privately held holdings. Within the context of this restructuring, Guido Dumarey acquired the automotive activities of PUNCH International, more specifically PUNCH Metals NV (www.punchmetals.com) and BBS.
Consolidation: From 2010, Guido Dumarey consolidated metal components manufacturers of Belgium and France into his new 100%-owned automotive related holding PUNCH Metals International. Some activities, such as PUNCH Metals Montataire, were restructured over the course of 2013. All remaining parts in Punch Powertrain were sold off in 2010.
Creating and saving jobs: The end of 2012 saw PUNCH Metals International (now PUNCH Motive International) acquire General Motors Strasbourg (France), which was renamed into PUNCH Powerglide Strasbourg. PUNCH Powerglide produces automatic transmissions for BMW, ZF and Chinese, Russian and Indian OEMs. PUNCH invested 250 million Euros in the production capacity and in the development of new transmissions and built a group with more than 500 million Euros revenue in 2017.
The move saved the jobs of 1.000 direct employees and 3.000 indirect employees. Direct employment would subsequently increase to 1,250 employees in 2018.
Forging ahead: In December of 2013, PUNCH Corporation acquired the forging factory of Benteler Automotive in St. Ursanne in Switzerland and renamed it into Thecla Pun.ch Umform. In 2015, the company's activities stopped and in 2017 PUNCH Corporation established the company PUNCH Precision Detva, in Slovakia, in order to start forging activities for third parties in Slovakia.
Re-industrialisation and protecting employment: In 2014, PUNCH acquired a production site of Steelcase in Wisches, renamed into PUNCH Wisches. PUNCH again succeeded in a successful re-industrialisation project and saved the employment of 200 employees.
Establishing the holding: In the context of the acquisition of PUNCH Wisches, Guido Dumarey established the holdings PUNCH Driveline Technologies and Punch Elzas, both Dutch holding structures.
The establishment of two daughter companies in China: In June 2015, PUNCH Powerglide Strasbourg established its 100% daughter companies PUNCH Powerglide Investment Company Ltd in Hong Kong, and PUNCH Powerglide Tianjin Technology Co Ltd in China in order to further develop and structure its Chinese and Asian operations.
PUNCH Motive: In December 2017, Guido Dumarey acquired the holding PUNCH Motive from Iep Invest.
PUNCH Flybrid: In 2018, Guido Dumarey acquired the flywheel activities and patents of Flybrid in the UK and renamed it into PUNCH Flybrid. Flybrid is a specialist in kinetic energy recovery systems, with important applications in the automotive and off-road industry.