Landa supportive of Highcon vision

Jo Francis
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Industry innovator Benny Landa has spoken out in support of Highcon after a slump in the digital finishing firm’s share price.

Landa: revolutionary technology takes time
Landa: revolutionary technology takes time

Highcon floated on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) at the end of last year. The IPO was over-subscribed, and valued Highcon at $165m (£120m) after the offering, with the business raising $45m.

Former HP Indigo boss Alon Bar-Shany subsequently joined as chairman at the beginning of this year.

Landa and Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) are the biggest shareholders in Highcon. 

In an interview with Israeli business publication Globes, Landa said that Highcon had a promising future because it was bringing disruptive technology to a large potential market. 

Landa himself has a track record of printing industry innovation spanning decades. He founded Indigo in 1977 and the business brought its first digital press to market in 1993. 

After selling Indigo to HP he subsequently founded the Landa group of companies which includes Landa Digital Printing. 

Regarding Highcon, Landa told Globes that although the business was founded in 2009 Highcon was still “a young company”.

“When you start a revolution in a big market, it takes time, and you need a great deal of patience. It takes time both to develop the technology and to educate the market - that's how it is when you make a fundamental, revolutionary change.”

He said that he envied people who developed apps because of the fast pace of development and commercialisation, but said apps were not based on “deep technology and deep learning”.

“I don’t know of any revolutionary technology that happens in a short time, but the market is starting to recognise how vital digital rather than mechanical production is for packaging, and there is starting to be significant demand for it,” he stated. 

He also said Landa Digital Printing was seeing strong demand. LDP's nanography inkjet technology also had a long gestation process, with the business going back to the drawing board after its launch at Drupa 2012, and subsequently returning with a revamped product. 

Since flotation when Highcon’s share price was ILS915 (£205.60) its share price has been on a declining trend and was at ILS311 last week. After the Landa interview was published it rose to ILS436.

Sales at Highcon were $8.4m in the pandemic-impacted 2020, down from $9.7m in 2019. However, the firm said it had met its revised objectives after adjusting for Covid-19. The 2020 operating loss, net of option costs, was $2.9m compared with a $13.6m loss the prior year. 

In an investor presentation earlier this year, Highcon said it was addressing a “huge market in the early stage of transformation” with a number of mega-trends impacting the shift to digital finishing – a market identified by the manufacturer as a $7bn “digital finishing equipment opportunity”.

The firm said it had started 2021 with a strong order backlog for its digital cutting and creasing devices; and this year would involve the full deployment of its fifth-generation consumables, a unified software platform across all models, and a new pricing model involving bundling service and consumables. 

The business said it was also building relationships with key industry players, including EFI, HP, Barberan, Domino and Koenig & Bauer. 

The firm’s profile in the UK was boosted when Linney Group described its installation of a Highcon Beam 2 as “game-changing”. Highcon has also appointed Steve Donegal as country manager and CMYUK as its go-to-market partner.  

 

 

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