Bayer Sells Stake In Agfa

By: Jim Rosenberg

Germany’s Bayer AG announced Thursday that it will sell its 30% stake in Belgian graphic arts equipment, software, and consumables supplier Agfa-Gevaert to investment bankers Goldman Sachs, which will sell the 42 million shares to investors.

Agfa had been trading at just over $16 a share, but Bayer did not disclose its per-share price, stating only that it would realize a tax-free gain of $187 million, which it will use to pay down debt.

Agfa began trading on the Brussels exchange three years ago. Early last year Bayer sought a buyer for its remaining interest in Agfa but by spring had ended efforts to sell the stake.

The sale follows Bayer’ announcement last week that it will eliminate another 1,300 jobs. The same number of jobs were cut after the company pulled its Lipobay anti-cholesterol drug from the market last August.

Agfa recently said it is integrating subsidiary Autologic’s Thousand Oaks, Calif., manufacturing operations with its main manufacturing facility in Wilmington, Mass. The move follows Agfa’s acquisition of Autologic last December and the ongoing merger of the two organizations.

Autologic is a long-time supplier of output systems to the newspaper industry.

Agfa Graphic Systems General Manager Marc Elsermans said customers will continue getting Autologic products and services “and we will further improve the efficiency of manufacturing.” Agfa said Autologic’s service commitments will not be disrupted and its hardware and software research and development will continue.

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