Just days after announcing a tie with Chinese manufacturer lucky Huaguang, Agfa has acquired the prepress business of Spanish platemaker Ipagsa.
The company, based at Rubí near Barcelona, has long been western Europe’s last remaining independent plate producer with a product range that ticked all the boxes, but without the scale needed to compete with the three leading plate suppliers. Its products have been distributed though a network of dealers, though without the clout or difference to have real impact except on price.
Now its twin coating lines will be stilled, though the Ipagsa name will live on as a brand for competitively priced products as part of Agfa Graphics. The Belgian company will use the brand to open new customers in emerging markets where price is key and so protect the core Agfa brand as a premium. Already 70% of Ipagsa’s output is directed to these customers.
Ipagsa will continue to be managed by its existing team where CEO Lorenzo Ferrari says: “Through Ipagsa, Agfa Graphics will be able to better address the price sensitive regions and segments of the global printing market, making a clear distinction with the premium segment served by the Agfa Graphics organisation.”
“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 achieving its earnings 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.
Agfa plans to both produce the Ipagsa products itself and to source from third-party producers. This might include its new Chinese partner, where there is abundant capacity and lower production costs.
The deal will add revenues of €30 million to Agfa’s bottom line, though terms of the deal are not being made public. The Ipagsa plate has sporadically been available in the UK but has never shifted in large volumes.
The company is not relying on M&A of partnering strategy to achieve its mid-term financial goals. It is introducing a non preheat violet sensitive newspaper plate that also lacks the traditional bath go for processing.
This is the Avatar V-ZH, a first plate of this kind and aimed at newspapers across the world where violet diode imaging predominates. The new plate and linked Attiro clean out unit become available in Q4.
The Avatar plate is the first no preheat processes plate aimed at newspaper users. The announcement of its availability come as the annual newspaper exhibition draws near and comes in the same week as Agfa announces it has acquired the prepress business of Spanish plate producer Ipagsa.