Xsys division sale to Lone Star completed

Flint Group finalized the sale process

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Xsys Division
Flint Group's Xsys division sale out to Lone Star Funds. Photo Flintgroup

Flint Group confirms, on 28 February 2022, the successful completion of the sale of its Xsys division (Xsys) to an affiliate of Lone Star Funds (Lone Star), a global private equity firm.

On 8 September 2021, Luxembourg headquartered Flint Group owned by Koch Industries, announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its Xsys division (formed in January 2021), which specializes in the development and supply of printing plates, sleeves, and adapters, and pre-press equipment to the packaging industry, to an affiliate of Lone Star Funds, a global private equity firm. The transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. The press release states that Lone Star Funds is a leading private equity firm advising funds that invest globally in real estate, equity, credit, and other financial assets. Amongst its globally dispersed offices, it does have an office in Dallas, Texas.

A bit of the back story

It seems that instead of selling the whole company, Flint has been able to divest the Xsys division as a first step which was likely the idea of starting it as a separate division in January 2021. As we reported about three months ago, a Reuters report on 27 May 2021 said that the Flint Group was nearing the completion of a debt refinancing deal seen as a precondition for selling the company, a process initiated in late 2019. However, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the sales process. Goldman Sachs’ private equity arm and Koch Equity Development, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, are the current owners.

Flint Group completes sale

Steve Dryden, Flint Group’s chief executive officer, said, “We are delighted to have completed the sale of our Xsys division. The transaction is attractive, both financially and strategically, for Flint Group as we reinforce our position as a leader in conventional and digital printing consumables and equipment for the structurally growing segments of paper and board, flexible packaging, and narrow web labels.

“I would like to thank our Xsys colleagues for all of their hard work and wish them well in their future with Lone Star.”

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

 

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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