Heidelberg is to transfer its Digital division to Eastman Kodak, and its Web Offset division to Goss International. The moves are part of the company’s realignment process announced last November, which will see it focus on the sheet-fed offset, prepress and finishing businesses, as well as their attached workflow systems, training and service activities.

“The two portfolio decisions will decisively accelerate the realignment process”, says ceo Bernhard Schreier. “From now on, Heidelberg will strengthen its focus on the sheet-fed offset business in order to optimally serve commercial, packaging and label printers with a comprehensive product portfolio. We are convinced this strategy will lead us back to profitability very quickly.”

The deal with Eastman Kodak is still to be confirmed by the antitrust organizations. It involves all Heidelberg Digital Print activities – HDI, in Rochester, USA, its 50 per cent share in the Heidelberg/Eastman Kodak joint enterprise venture Nexpress Solutions, also in Rochester, and its 100 per cent share of Nexpress in Kiel, Germany.

Some 2,000 people worldwide are employed by the digital business, which recorded sales of €240M last year – about six per cent of Heidelberg’s total sales.

Under the terms of the deal, if all sales goals are met during the next two calendar years, Kodak will pay a maximum of $150M in cash. Additional sales related earn-out payments over a five-year period will follow if certain sales targets are achieved. Kodak will not pay any cash at closing for the business being acquired. Further financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

“This is our reaction to the changes in market dynamics within the print media industry”, continues Bernhard Schreier. “Heidelberg will reallocate its resources and refocus its efforts, in alignment to its core customer base, on the offset sector. “Our global sales organization will continue to work closely with Kodak in the digital printing area.”

Integration of digital printing in print shops’ workflows, using Prinect, will remain part of the Heidelberg service offerings.


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