Agfa to Buy Lastra

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By: Jim Rosenberg

In yet further consolidation within the plates and platemakers market, Agfa-Gevaert of Mortsel, Belgium, announced today that it reached agreement to acquire for cash all shares in Microgran S.r.l., the company owning Lastra S.p.A., Italian manufacturer of offset printing plates, related chemicals and equipment.

The cash transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be accretive from the first year.

Only two years ago, the 35-year-old analog plate supplier, based in Manerbio, Italy, acquired Mitsubishi Chemical’s St. Louis-based Western Lithotech business, putting it into the digital plate market. With sales of approximately 240 million Euros last year, Lastra now operates six factories in Italy and the U.S.

In the market for computer-to-plate systems, Western Lithotech took a strong early lead among large newspapers. Though it makes a range of plates, Western developed a line of visible-light YAG platesetters that have seen substantial recent competition from violet, ultraviolet and thermal devices — not least from Agfa.

Agfa Graphic Systems General Manager Albert Follens called Lastra a “perfect fit for Agfa,” where it is expected to generate “important revenue and cost synergies.” He said the intention is to keep Lastra’s brands and dealer network in place.

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