Agfa: plate prices must go up again

Jo Francis
Thursday, June 24, 2021

Agfa has announced a further increase in offset printing plate prices, which will involve an uplift in the current surcharge for UK customers.

Agfa said further plate price increases could follow as the trend continues
Agfa said further plate price increases could follow as the trend continues

The Belgian headquartered manufacturer said the global price increase was due to “the ongoing rise of raw material costs, particularly aluminium, energy and packaging materials, in combination with high freight rates”, which made  price adjustments “unavoidable”.

Agfa said that the cost of packaging materials had almost doubled within the space of two months, as industries of all kinds battle to get hold of scarce supplies of corrugated board.

The group also said that the price of aluminium had peaked this month at more than $2,500/tonne (£1,789), although the aluminium element of printing plate costs is effectively offset against recycling rates. 

Head of sales in Europe Eddie Williams told Printweek: “In Europe we’ve gone with a surcharge based on three or four different factors including transportation, packaging, energy and obviously aluminium, and there will be an alteration to the existing surcharge.”

Williams said the surcharge would double from 0.23p per square metre to 0.46p/sqm, with the change being made in line with customers’ existing contract terms. 

Agfa HQ said that across global markets offset plate prices would increase by “up to 10%” from 1 August, again depending upon existing contracts. 

“This is in addition to the previously announced and implemented increase and will likely be followed by subsequent increases as the trend continues,” the group stated. 

Regarding the market in general, Williams said he had seen “some reasonable recovery” across European markets in the past two months, but described the UK recovery as “patchy” 

“There’s no consistency in the UK at all from one month to the next. We’re slightly disappointed in the speed of recovery in the UK.”

Agfa’s €704m (£600m) turnover Offset Solutions business has been spun off as a separate legal entity is currently the subject of a strategic review. 

The €1.7bn group is currently in the process of buying back up to €50m of its own shares. In the past week its share price has increased from €3.82 to €3.94 (52 week high: €4.18, low: €3.12).

 

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