Ricoh’s growth strategy plan

Ricoh to acquire ColorGATE Digital Output Solutions GmbH

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Ricoh has reached an agreement to buy ColorGATE Digital Output Solutions GmbH to strengthen its growing industrial printing business. ColorGATE is a leading software provider in the printing industry with a specific competence in color management. The transfer of shares is scheduled to complete on 30 November 2018.

Founded in 1997, ColorGATE based in Hannover, Germany, has been supporting the printing industry for over 20 years by providing software for the wide format and industrial printing sectors. With its extensive customer base ColorGATE is the European leader in industrial printing software. It has unique color management technology to support printing and decorating a wide variety of materials used for packaging, floor and wall coverings as well as textiles and signage. It is a leading provider of performance-optimized color management and workflow software to standardize and automate growing digital print markets including décor and textiles.
The investment in ColorGATE is the latest part of growth strategy plan, ‘RICOH Ignite,’ which sets out its intention to reinforce its value offering by expanding its printing technology portfolio.

To enhance its industrial printing business, Ricoh recently established a ‘Global IP Technology Center’ and a ‘Global IP Marketing Center’. Significantly, both are located in Europe, which is increasingly becoming the center of incubation for industrial printing markets. This allows access to cutting-edge technology and enables increased responsiveness to market needs. The centers aim to drive marketing, strategic planning and development of business and products with Ricoh’s alliance partners worldwide.

Peter Williams, corporate vice president and general manager of Commercial and Industrial Printing Business Group, Ricoh, said, “By combining ColorGATE’s proprietary software technology with our own industrial printers, Ricoh will provide solutions covering the whole printing workflow from prepress to postpress. This acquisition will enable ColorGATE to expand its industrial printing business and global presence as together we become better able to support our customers to accelerate their transition from analogue to digital based production.”

According to Thomas Kirschner, co-founder of ColorGATE, “We are delighted to have been selected by Ricoh to contribute to this strong future growth strategy whilst we continue to serve our established customer base, OEM partners and reseller channel.” Kirschner will continue to serve as CEO after the acquisition.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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