Breaking news – Can Ricoh India come back in 2020?

Ricoh India out of insolvency and to be delisted

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Ricoh VC70000 at Hunkeler 2019
Ricoh VC 70000 webfed inkjet press shown at Hunkeler Innovation Days in February 2019 in Lucernce Photo IPP

While Ricoh seems to be doing well globally, in India, it suffered a massive disruption several years ago, due to poor governance. The Japan-based company’s Indian subsidiary Ricoh India Limited was quoted on the Bombay Stock Exchange, and despite the Japanese parent company pumping in cash, Ricoh India Limited went into insolvency. It filed an application under Section 10 of the IBC before the National Company Law Tribunal in March 2018, as it was unable to meet its liabilities.

The Mumbai bench of NCLT vide its order dated 28 November 2019 approved the resolution plan submitted by the Resolution Applicants. It meant acquisition of the company by the resolution applicants, Kalpraj Dharamshi and Ms. Rekha Jhunjhunwala, who made an open offer of Rs 50 per share to 26.4% of the shareholders and to delist the company as per the approved plan.

The public announcement of the plan dated 2 December 2019, in several daily papers reads: “As an integral part of the Approved Plan, the Resolution Applicants intend to provide an exit opportunity to the Public Shareholders of the company by making an offer to acquire up to 1,04,97,791 Equity Shares of Rs. 10/- each at a price of Rs. 50/- per equity share, representing 26.40% of the paid-up equity share capital from the Eligible Shareholders and consequently delist the Company from BSE Limited (“BSE”) as provided in the Approved Plan.”

The good news

The good news is that the acquired and to be delisted company has an active product line up from its parent Ricoh in the digital press area, and the Indian company should be back in the distribution and sales of digital print production presses in the next year. A new CEO has been appointed with a track record in the digital press business. We believe that the investors are also familiar with the digital print business, having been associated in the past, with companies importing and selling digital presses.

Ricoh has a significant installed base of sheetfed digital presses in India and a few webfed inkjet presses. It should come as a relief to its customers that maintenance and toner inputs will continue from a forward-looking business. Ricoh has an excellent line-up of webfed inkjet presses and has been lauded as a leader in the segment, primarily because of its VC70000 press. One expects to see a strong showing from the company at drupa 2020 in June, and for Ricoh’s Indian customers, it will come as a relief. For potential customers, it will come as a welcome option once the company becomes both locally viable and responsive.

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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1 COMMENT

  1. Apparently there may be a delay in the Ricoh India insolvency resolution and revival plan. Kotak Investment Advisors owned by the Kotak Mahindra bank have challenged the Dharamshi-Jhunjhunwala resolution plan approved by the NCLT Mumbai. After being rejected by the NCLT and the Mumbai High Court, there is a possibility that the KIA may appeal to the Supreme Court. NK 20.2.2020

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