CeWe has acquired another German printer amid speculation that the web-to-print and photo gift business could be looking to acquire in the UK, as well.
This week the Oldenburg-headquartered group announced that it had acquired Berlin printer Laserline, as part of its strategy to grow its online commercial printing operations.
Laserline is expected to contribute circa €15m (£13.3m) to CeWe’s sales next year, and will contribute to the group’s profitability from 2019. It runs a range of litho and digital kit, including Heidelberg Speedmasters and Kodak NexPress digital presses.
The deal is subject to approval by the German competition authorities. CeWe also owns Saxoprint.
The acquisition comes amid speculation that CeWe could be looking to expand its UK production footprint through a buy here, with a number of high-profile web-to-print exponents cited as potential targets.
“I wouldn’t be surprised, the UK has been on their radar for a while,” said an industry source. “That market is definitely consolidating, and at the moment they just can’t get the commercial work back to the UK from the continent fast enough.”
Saxoprint has a partnership with Pureprint for fast turnaround digital work.
Earlier this month CeWe announced its year-end sales and profit targets. It said it expected full year sales to be between €585-€615m, with EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) of €45m-€51m.
The group also pointed to a “noticeable Brexit effect” and currency losses in the UK in its online commercial printing operation. This has also been viewed as a driver towards establishing a local production hub.
CeWe has 3,500 employees at 24 sites across Europe. It has a photo products production site in the UK, in Warwick, which posted turnover of £11.4m last year.