Agfa proposes plate plant closure


Further consolidation of worldwide printing plate manufacturing appears to be on the cards, after Agfa proposed the closure of its Italian plate factory.

The facility, in Vallese near Verona in northern Italy, makes analogue offset printing plates and a specific type of no-bake thermal plate. Agfa took over the facility in 2004 when it acquired Lastra, and it is one of Agfa’s smaller sites worldwide.

Agfa Graphics president Stefaan Vanhooren said the move was part of a global streamlining plan that would reduce overall capacity and cut costs. The company cited continuing weak demand in Europe for the Vallese product range.

“This is necessary to remain the leading company in an extremely competitive prepress business amid global economic uncertainty,” he stated.

Consultation with the 120 employees at the site is underway.

An Agfa spokesman said: "The production of this older factory will now be done in a more efficient way in the other plate manufacturing sites depending on the types of plates."

The production capacity of the Vallese site was not disclosed. 

Agfa has six further plate manufacturing sites worldwide, including a substantial UK facility in Leeds.

Its worldwide centre of excellence for plate making is in Wiesbaden, Germany.  

It also has a separate factory in Italy that makes plate processing equipment including stackers, conveyors and baking ovens. 

Rival Kodak closed its UK plate manufacturing facility last year as part of a move to standardise its plate manufacturing footprint in each region.

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