Speculation over likely EFI acquisition targets

Jo Francis
Friday, January 23, 2015

EFI chief executive Guy Gecht has dismissed speculation that the company could mount a bid for Xaar using its $600m (£400m) war chest.

The acquisitive circa $790m-turnover group is definitely on the lookout for more buys, but Gecht told PrintWeek that EFI did not have ambitions to get into printhead manufacturing at the present time. 

"My team looked at everything including Xaar," he said. "We don't want to be in the business of printheads. We are in a very good position where we can decide which heads are suitable for which application, and we have many applications. I think Xaar is a great company, but we'd rather be a partner."

Multiple profit warnings at Xaar over the past year have hit the firm's share price, and the market capitalisation of the Huntingdon-headquartered inkjet specialist has fallen to around £267m, resulting in speculation that it could become an acquisition target. 

"People brought it to our attention, but we're not buying for the sake of buying and we don't want to be a head manufacturer," Gecht added.

At this week's EFI Connect event, Gecht was also asked about possible interest in Scodix, which he described as "a good company and we know a lot about them".

A potential buy in the inkjet textile printing space has also been mooted, which would fill an output gap in EFI's existing portfolio. 3D printing has also been suggested as an area of interest by some EFI-watchers.

Chief operating officer Marc Olin said: "Inkjet can be used for a lot more, and we are exploring opportunities in adjacent areas."

Gecht said the firm, which aims to reach $1bn turnover by 2016, was more likely to make several smaller acquisitions than one large deal. 

He said: "I think we will continue to do multiples. Some of them will be bigger but I can't see us spending all of it on one big deal because we need more than one type of thing. If we can get more capabilities and smart people faster, we will do some acquisitions."

At the event, EFI launched Productivity Suite, a series of end-to-end, certified workflows for different applications

It also showed some new features for its Fiery digital frontend, including Dynamic HD text and graphics for enhanced results on fine details and text; Ultra Smooth Gradients for producing graduated tints without the 'contour' effect often seen on digital output; and Gloss Control for dry toner devices whereby the toner surface is etched to do away with the characteristic glossy 'toner look' of some digital output.

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