Flint Group buys Xeikon; announces new digital division


Flint Group has agreed to acquire the majority shareholder of Xeikon, XBC BV, and use the press and consumables manufacturer as the basis of a new digital division.

The new venture will be called Flint Group Digital Printing Solutions and be led by Xeikon chief executive Wim Maes, as president. Flint Group said the new division will broaden its conventional and digital printing offering, giving it “a unique proposition of equipment, consumables and services across global markets”.

Flint Group chief executive Antoine Fady said: “Xeikon have a proven history of delivering exceptional value through high-quality, high-productivity, innovative and sustainable solutions for their customers, which fits seamlessly with our own long-term vision for our business.”

He said the deal represented an excellent opportunity for Luxembourg-headquartered Flint Group, which would propel the organisation further into the digital market. The company employs around 6,800 people and reported sales of €2.1bn (£1.5bn) in 2014.

Xeikon is based in Eede in the Netherlands, with operations in Lier, Ieper and Heultje (Belgium). Maes said Flint Group had developed strong relationships with leading global organisations within the graphic arts and packaging markets and the acquisition provided opportunities to accelerate business growth.

The company showed its new Fusion concept at Labelexpo in Brussels, Belgium in September.

It has also seen a rise in uptake of its toner-based label presses, from 205 in 2012 to an expected 392 this year. The company has five sites using the new CX3 label press (formerly the Cheetah), and expected to sell 20 this year.

The manufacturer also unveiled its new dry toner-based digital colour press, the Xeikon 9800, in February and sold its first new liquid toner Trillium press at Ipex last year. 

Fady added: “Xeikon has shown that dedication to the digital label, folding carton, commercial and document printing market segments has paid off in terms of market share, customer satisfaction and financial contribution.

"This next chapter in our more than 20-year existence opens many opportunities for Xeikon as a company, as well as for our customers, employees, partners and stakeholders.”

The value of the transaction, which remains subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by the competition authorities, has not been revealed.

Netherlands and Belgium-based private equity house Bencis Capital Partners bought Punch Graphics’ 65.68% controlling stake in Xeikon for €110.3m in 2013.

Punch, which was a major supplier of components to Xeikon, bought the press manufacturer's colour digital assets out of bankruptcy in March 2002.

XBC BV owns more than 95% of Xeikon's shares. The acquisition is expected to complete by the end of the year. 

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