Agfa in talks with potential buyer


German medical IT group CompuGroup Medical SE is in early-stage talks that could result in an offer to buy Agfa.

In a statement, the company said: “The board of directors of Agfa, together with its financial and legal advisors, will carefully evaluate CompuGroup’s expression of interest, taking into account the interests of its shareholders and other stakeholders.”

However the statement stressed that at this stage there was no guarantee that CompuGroup’s interest would result in a formal offer.

In its statement CompuGroup said that the discussions were at an early stage.

CompuGroup operates in around 40 countries, employs 4,300 staff and has sales €543m (£488m). It specialises in developing software and IT solutions for the healthcare industries.

The German-headquartered group is a fraction the size of its acquisition target.

Agfa employs around 10,000 and has annual sales of €2.6bn, 42% of which is generated by its healthcare division – the graphics business generates just over 51% of sales, almost €1.4bn in its last financial year.

According to a report in Belgian financial paper De Tijd, one of the major stumbling blocks to a deal is Agfa’s massive €1.1bn pension liability. The report also highlighted that if an offer did emerge and was accepted, then CompuGroup would most likely look to spin off the graphics and materials businesses, which could pose a challenge as they share manufacturing facilities with the medical business.

As a result of the initial speculation, Agfa’s share price rose by more than 10% to €3.951 in early trading today (Friday, 28 October), but by close had settled to €3.733.

In their statements, both companies said: "Further announcements will be made in due course, if and when circumstances so require."

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