UPDATE: Agfa Graphics Acquires Pitman Co.

By: E&P Staff

Agfa Graphics reached agreement to buy the assets of the privately held Harold M. Pitman Co., supplier of prepress, industrial inkjet, pressroom and packaging printing products and systems. No terms were disclosed.

Agfa, headquartered in Mortsel, Belgium, said on July 15 that the acquisition substantially increases revenue for Agfa Graphics in the United States to more than $500 million. It added that the contribution of incremental earnings before interest and taxes is expected to be “well in line with Agfa Graphics’ global 7% target.”

Based in Totowa, N.J., the Pitman Co. counts 502 employees and 16 U.S. locations. Its acquisition represents growth opportunities, according to Agfa, in industrial inkjet and prepress solutions. Additional product lines include flexographic printing plate solutions for packaging, pressroom products and value-added services.

“Pitman’s strong distribution network and broad portfolio of products and systems, combined with our leading technology, will provide us with promising growth opportunities in this strategically important region,” Agfa Graphics President Stefaan Vanhooren said in a statement, adding that a main driver of the acquisition was growth of the inkjet business.

Agfa Graphics North America President Peter Wilkens said during a teleconference that besides markets for inkjet and pressroom products, the deal puts Agfa solidly into the packaging printing sector — which he characterized as an area of “tremendous growth and tremendous stability,” and one in which Agfa has had little or no presence until now.

“Expected to close within 30 day,” Pitman’s acquisition came about from “nothing even remotely close to a bankruptcy,” Wilkens said, It follows Agfa deals in other graphic arts sectors and markets, including China and South Korea. With Pitman, he said, “we strengthen and consolidate our distribution power” within the United States. 

Pitman was founded 103 years ago and has worked with Agfa for more than 50 years. Agfa will retain the Pitman name for the business, the future of which was variously described as an Agfa subsidiary and Agfa division. 

A week ago, Kodak announced it will cut distribution ties with Pitman, which had been its largest reseller of prepress products since 2007, and will expand its relationship with xpedx, which would take over as Kodak’s principal reseller as of Oct. 5.

That Kodak-Pitman termination date will not change, according to Agfa and Pitman  executives. Wilkens called it “the right thing to do” so as not  to “strand the customer.” Pitman President Jim Sause said Pitman still has Kodak inventory that it can supply.

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