Cook leaves FFEI for new chapter

Jo Francis
Thursday, January 13, 2022

FFEI CEO Andy Cook has left the firm six months after selling the business to Xaar.

Cook with the FFEI Graphium inkjet label press
Cook with the FFEI Graphium inkjet label press

Julian Payne, who was CFO and co-owner alongside Cook, has also stepped down. 

Cook was part of the team that, in 1997, helped Fujifilm take over sole ownership of the former Crosfield Electronics joint venture it had with DuPont. He then helmed an MBO at FFEI in 2006. 

In a LinkedIn post Cook said: “During almost 25 years it has been a privilege to have worked and met so many wonderful people. Employees, clients and suppliers helped us achieve so much and I will be forever grateful for the support, loyalty and friendship people showed me. If you are one of them, please accept my thanks.”

He said he was looking forward to the next chapter in his career, including various business ventures and charity activities, and commented “I suspect the print industry hasn't seen the last of me just yet”.

Xaar acquired the FFEI inkjet integration and life sciences business in July 2021 in a £9m-plus deal. FFEI had sales of £9.9m in the year to 31 March 2021 with an operating margin of 9%. 

John Mills, Xaar CEO, paid tribute to Cook's achievements: "Andy Cook has made a huge contribution to FFEI over the years and we’d like to thank him for his support in the transition of FFEI to Xaar ownership. We wish him every success for the future.”

Regarding the management of the FFEI operation going forward, he said: “The inkjet side of FFEI has for many years had a very close relationship with Xaar and therefore Graham Tweedale, general manager of Xaar’s printhead business unit, has taken overall responsibility for the FFEI inkjet portfolio.

"Rick Salmon has been appointed as head of life sciences at FFEI. Rick has been integral to developing that part of the FFEI portfolio so it’s a natural step.”

Both Tweedale and Salmon report directly to Mills.

Separately, in a trading update released today (13 January) ahead of its year-end results for calendar year 2021, Xaar said that sales were expected to be up 23% at £59m, with organic growth of 12% prior to the FFEI buy.

“FFEI has been successfully integrated and strengthens Xaar's capabilities and skills. This will accelerate Xaar's existing growth strategy and widen the product portfolio further engaging User Developer Integrator customers,” the Cambridge-headquartered manufacturer stated.

Xaar said its printhead business had performed well and it was successfully rolling out the new ImagineX platform and other new heads, with further new products in the pipeline.

The performance of the US-headquartered EPS Product Print Systems business, which took a £1m hit last year against obsolete or slow moving inventories, has subsequently “improved” and has delivered strong sales growth.

Xaar has also invested £7m in inventory “to successfully secure materials” in order to meet expected production demands this year.

Mills commented: "We ended the year well with an improved second half performance which shows the positive momentum we have in the business. Strong order intake over the last few months gives us confidence of maintaining this momentum into 2022. 

“The investment in working capital gives increased certainty in our ability to maintain supply to our customers throughout the year, a year in which we expect to see further growth. We will continue to invest in capability and capacity to drive growth and deliver further opportunities to grow the business and accelerate our strategy.”

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