HP has confirmed it will not be exhibiting at Ipex 2014, a decision described as "disappointing" by the show's organiser Informa Group.
The vendor, which exhibited more than 50 digital presses on its 5,000sqm stand at Drupa in May, was the single largest exhibitor at Ipex 2010, taking almost 3,000sqm. Its decision not to participate is a major blow for Ipex, which is permanently relocating to London’s Excel in 2014 after decades at the Birmingham NEC.
Market development director of HP EMEA’s graphic solutions business, Ronen Zioni, said that the company’s decision was purely a strategic, rather than budgetary one.
"Of course it is linked to return on investment (ROI), as always. It’s obviously a big decision for us and not one we took lightly, but it’s very much linked to shift more resources towards more regionally focussed, application centric, customer engaging and business development projects for our customers," added Zioni.
However, he did reveal that the company would "absolutely" participate in Drupa 2016, which he described as "unique", as well as Fespa 2013 in London. It will also be financially supporting the inaugural Dscoop EMEA event in Barcelona in November.
Informa print group and event director Trevor Crawford said: "Of course I’m disappointed, although I’m not entirely surprised because of some of the communications that have been coming out of HP.
"We’ve always been very honest with our exhibitors, we have had HP on the floor plan, but we’ve been moving their footprint down in size for months and if anyone ever asked if they had confirmed the answer was always no."
HP’s decision comes a month after it announced a substantial drop in income and a plan to slim its global workforce by 27,000 over the next two years – prompting chief executive Meg Whitman to say that a turnaround of the business could take five years.
However, Crawford was hopeful, with the show still almost two years away, that HP might reconsider its decision to not participate.
"Things are never a no for ever in this market and things change. We’ve got a great relationship with HP, after all the Indigo launched at Ipex in 1993 and the inkjet web press in 2010, and I suspect that maybe next year things might be different."
But Zioni said that there would be no U-turn on its decision, certainly for Ipex 2014.
"The decision is made for 2014, I don’t expect to come back from this. Ipex 2018 is so far away though, and it’s such a dynamic industry I don’t think its right to speculate on that now," he added.
While clearly disappointed by HP’s decision, Crawford highlighted that 70% of the 2014 show’s 100,000sqm floor space is already sold, with dozens of major vendors like Canon, EFI, Heidelberg and Landa already fully committed.
"Of course I would love to have HP at the show too, but I like to think that the 70% that is on the show floor are not exhibiting at Ipex because of HP – they’re exhibiting because we deliver a significant ROI to them and the visitors."
For industry reaction to HP's decision, see next week's PrintWeek.Tweet