Agfa Graphics to acquire the offset plate business of Ipagsa

Agfa Graphics

On 4 September 2018, Agfa Graphics announced that it intends to acquire the prepress business of the privately-owned Spanish printing plate supplier Ipagsa Industrial S.L.

The transaction excludes the printing plate manufacturing activities in Barcelona, Spain, which are likely to be shut down according but includes the IPAGSA plant in China. The company’s press release states that the printing plate volumes to be acquired will be partly integrated in Agfa’s global manufacturing network and partly procured from third-party suppliers. It is expected that in 2019, this acquisition will contribute up to EUR 30 million to Agfa Graphics’ top line with a double-digit EBITDA.

“This acquisition is another step in our strategy for profitable growth. Next to a significant increase of our prepress top line, the acquisition will also help Agfa achieve its EBITDA target of 10% in average over the next few years. Ipagsa’s experienced team will continue to operate under its own brand as a separate entity, managed by its current owner, Lorenzo Ferrari,” says Stefaan Vanhooren, president of Agfa Graphics.

The China and India strategy

Consolidation and strategic alliances, which are often a precursor to consolidation among print equipment and consumable suppliers, continue apace. At the end of August, Agfa announced a strategic alliance agreement with Chinese offset plate manufacturer Lucky HuaGuang Graphics. Under the intended collaboration, Lucky HuaGuang Graphics will provide manufacturing capacity for printing plates in Nanyang, China, with Agfa Graphics’ support and using Agfa Graphics’ high-end technology and intellectual property to manufacture products for Agfa.

Apparently, Ipagsa plates will be separately branded and sold to more price-sensitive markets while the premium segment plates will be branded as Agfa Graphics plates. It is not clear how this will impact the Indian market or whether the Ipagsa plates will be made at the IPAGSA plant in China or by Agfa’s strategic ally in China, Lucky HuaGang or even by TechNova in India. Agfa’s strong licensee manufacturer and distributor TechNova is based in the Mumbai region and dominates the Indian offset plate market with no significant local manufacturing competition. Since the Agfa press release states that the Ipagsa plate manufacture will be integrated in the company’s global network, it is possible that these could be manufactured by TechNova at some point. Watch this space.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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