Flint Group acquires Xeikon and re-enters digital

Print industry consolidation

Antoine Fady, CEO of Flint Group

Flint Group announced on 20 November 2015 that it has acquired Xeikon, one of the leading digital solutions providers to the packaging and commercial printing markets. Headquartered in Eede in the Netherlands, with operations in Lier, Ieper and Heultje Belgium, Xeikon designs, develops and delivers highend digital color presses and consumables for the global commercial, document, label and packaging market segments, distributing its solutions through a worldwide sales and service network.

Xeikon’s legacy includes the first webfed digital press shown at Ipex 1993 as the Agfa Chroma press that was ultimately acquired by ex-Agfa employees who created Xeikon. Xeikon’s products and services will be the foundation of a newly created division to be called Flint Group Digital Printing Solutions. The new division of Flint Group will broadenthe group’s conventional and digital printing solutions, offering a unique proposition of equipment, consumables and services across its global markets.

FlintGroup is itself a product of a fairly complex set of mergers and acquisitions. In late 2014, Koch Equity Development, a subsidiary of Koch Industries and Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division partnered to acquire 100% stake of Flint Group. Flint, based in Luxembourg, is a leading global supplier of inks and other print consumables suchas flexographicprintingplates,blankets,imagetransferproductsand chemicals for pressrooms,to the packaging and the print media industries.

In 2003 before it became the FlintGroup, FlintInk set up a specialized inkjet printer companyJetrion–anoutcomeofinkjetdevelopmentwithinitsDigitalDivision.Questions were raised by industry experts in 2006 when Flint sold Jetrion to EFI. Industry commentator Andrew Tribute for one asked,“Why should Flint Ink be selling a company thatoperates inthefastgrowingmarketofinkjetprinting?” Inanycase,Flinthas re-entered the digital press marketin a big way with the acquisition ofXeikon.

Speaking aboutthe acquisition of Xeikon,Antoine Fady,CEO of FlintGroup, says, “This acquisitionrepresents anexcellent opportunity for FlintGroup, propelling the organization furtherinto the digital solutions market, where we will continue to deliver on ourlong-term strategy of driving growth through product innovation, focus ondevelopingmarkets andportfolio expansion.” “Xeikon has aprovenhistory ofdelivering exceptional value through high-quality, high-productivity, innovative and sustainable solutions fortheir customers, which fit seamlessly with our own longtermvision for our business.I amalso delighted towelcome the customers and employees of Xeikon to Flint Group and look forward to supporting them and building on their continued success.”

Xeikon digital press shown at Labelexpo Europe 2015. Photo PSA

Wim Maes, CEO of Xeikon, who will become president of Flint Group’s Digital Printing Solutions division, reporting to Antoine Fady, says, “We are very pleased to be joining FlintGroup’s global organizationand excited by the opportunities this acquisition presents to accelerate business growth. Xeikon has shown that dedication to the digital label, folding carton, commercial and document printing market segmentshas paid offinterms ofmarket share, customer satisfactionand financial contribution. This next chapterin our more than 20-year existence opens many opportunities for Xeikon as a company, as well as for our customers, employees, partners and stakeholders.”

“Flint Group has developed strong relationships with many leading global organizations within the graphic arts and packaging markets. Our shared goal of delivering exceptional value, unparalleled service, consistent quality and continuous innovation is only enhanced by Flint Group’s reputation, knowledge, infrastructure and support,” adds Maes. The transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by the competition authorities, and should be completed by end of 2015.

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