Report: Landa could float on Nasdaq

Benny Landa showing sample output at a customer open house
Benny Landa showing sample output at a customer open house

Landa Digital Printing could float on the US Nasdaq exchange with a valuation of $2bn (£1.46bn) according to a report in the Israeli financial tech press.

A report in Calcalist Ctech said that Landa founder Benny Landa was working with the Bank of America on a potential flotation via a Nasdaq-traded SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) with a target valuation of $2bn “20 times the company’s annual revenue of around $50m,” Calcalist stated.

Previous reports have put the existing investment in Landa at $800m, including hundreds of millions of dollars of Landa’s own money.

German billionaire heiress and entrepreneur Susanne Klatten has invested $400m in Landa through her Altana Group chemicals business and SKion private investment firm.

In Altana’s 2020 results, the €2.18bn turnover group reported an “at equity method” loss of €38.9m (2019 loss: €39.1m) and said the largest share of this loss “resulted from the investment in Landa Corporation”.

The group said that its supervisory board received regular updates on LDP's progress, and had devoted one of its 2020 board meetings to the investment in detail. 

Calcalist said that Altana held a 33% stake, Skion 12.7% with Landa retaining a majority stake of 54%.

Pre-pandemic, in May 2019, LDP shared its ambitious expansion plans for the number of presses it would have installed around the world in three years’ time, but its roll-out plans have been impacted by the pandemic and by delays shipping some models.

Landa had hoped to achieve a substantial number of installations worldwide by May 2022

It had planned to have a W10 flexible packaging press installed in early 2020, but that was put back.

However, the firm said that “despite the odds” and Covid travel constraints, its installed base still grew considerably in 2020 with customers in China, Europe, the US, Mexico and Israel.

Now 75, Benny Landa is a serial entrepreneur and inventor who holds numerous patents. He founded digital printing pioneer Indigo, which launched its E-Print digital press in 1993. He sold the business to HP in 2001 for $830m.

After subsequently exploring nano technology to realise his vision of creating thermal energy from thin air, he came across nano pigments and spotted the potential benefits for print.

This resulted in his return to the printing industry. “I had no choice, I had to get back into printing,” he said at the time. 

Landa’s Nanography inkjet printing technology was launched at Drupa 2012. The presses that have come to market thus far use a Komori chassis, EFI frontend, and Fujifilm Dimatix inkjet heads.  

His exploration of the potential for nano-technology and the ability for “big things to come from small particles” has also involved hair colouring and drug delivery. Landa Group’s Lusix business also creates lab-grown diamonds of “stunning clarity and perfection”.

Through his separate Landa Ventures wing he invests in a variety of technology businesses including Highcon, Twine and Ripples.

LDP is currently recruiting for almost 30 roles worldwide, including in customer support and sales in the UK, where there is currently one installation, at Bluetree Group in Yorkshire.

A Landa S10 arrived at McGowans in Dublin last week, while LDP has also installed its first perfecting model S10P in Germany, at commercial printer BluePrint, with another high-profile continental S10P installation in the works at Em de Jong.  

Just over a year ago then-CEO Arik Gordon said the business was transitioning from being a technology company to a market-oriented company. “We need to build the infrastructure in order to support, very soon, hundreds of presses out there and that’s a different focus than before. Of course, we continue to develop the technology in parallel,” he said at the time.

Gordon subsequently left the business after just 10 months for personal reasons. He was replaced in April by Gil Oron, previously a long-standing executive at Orbotech.

At a VIP customer event four years ago, Landa said that his next goal was to establish Israel as the world’s leading exponent of printing technology, wrestling that crown from long-established German competitors in the process.

Regarding the Calcalist report, Landa said the firm did not comment on rumours.