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Barco Graphics and Purup-Eskofot to Merge

Press release from the issuing company

Kortrijk, 7 september 2001. Barco n.v., the parent company of Barco Graphics, and Kirkbi A/S, the parent company of Danish Purup-Eskofot and owned by the descendants of the founder of the LEGO Group, today announced that they have signed a Memorandum Of Understanding to merge Barco Graphics and Purup-Eskofot into one combined company: BPE. Barco n.v. will own 49% of this new company, and Kirkbi A/S will own 51%. Purup-Eskofot has a very strong position in commercial printing, in the newspaper publishing and in quick printing markets, with a broad portfolio of prepress equipment and their own workflow solution for newspaper publishing. The company is now launching its new PlateDriver offset Computer-to-Plate machine at Print ’01 , the 4-yearly exhibition in Chicago. On the other hand, Barco Graphics has a number of products for commercial printing, amongst which the Mondrian, that will truly complement the portfolio of Purup-Eskofot. At the same time, Barco Graphics, with its worldwide leading position in prepress and preproduction of packaging, will be able to enlarge its packaging systems offering with the CtP portfolio of Purup-Eskofot. Synergies between the 2 merging companies are therefore very strong and guarantee excellent opportunities for BPE to develop an exceptionally strong position, both in the packaging and in the commercial printing market. As a minority shareholder BARCO will benefit from the expected success of BPE. The combined turnover of the two organizations merging into BPE is about Euro 250 mio. The intention of the merger is to create a financially strong company by making it debt and cash free on both sides. Before the Merger Kirkbi A/S will reimburse the important debts of Purup-Eskofot, while BARCO will retrieve more than 10 mio euros of cash. In order to come to a 51 % participation, Kirkbi A/S will also make an equalization payment to BARCO of about Euro 9 mio. The merger should bring BARCO an exceptional positive result at the time of the closing, planned before the end of 2001. At the same time the management of BPE will be given the opportunity to participate in the company. In this way neither of the 2 merging partners will have absolute majority. The head office of BPE will be in Gent, Belgium. Hardware and software product development will be in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Czechia and the USA. William Schulin-Zeuthen, currently President and CEO of Purup-Eskofot will become CEO of BPE. Bruno Pairon, Managing Director of Barco Graphics, will cooperate in the set-up of the new company. Barco Graphics is the leading global supplier to the packaging industry for digital pre-production solutions, and the only one to offer an integrated approach to graphic and structural workflows. It is also the market leader in flexo Computer-to-Plate imaging, supported by a co-marketing agreement with DuPont Cyrel. Barco Graphics further is the leader in digital prepress solutions for the cartographic market, and an important OEM supplier to the digital document printing market, with partners such as Xeikon and IBM. Purup-Eskofot is one of the world’s leading digital prepress suppliers to the commercial printing, the newspaper publishing and the quick printing markets. It is the leader in copydot scanning solutions, and in the computer-to-polyester-plate imaging market where it has OEM and distribution agreements with AB Dick and Mitsubishi Paper Mills. The new company BPE will combine the management, R&D, manufacturing facilities and distribution resources of the previous entities. The two merging companies have the perfect product portfolios to complement each other in their respective strong market positions: Barco Graphics in Packaging and Purup- Eskofot in commercial printing. One of the products of Barco Graphics that will enhance the offering of Purup-Eskofot to the commercial printing market is the Mondrian, the fastest and most automated Very Large Format (VLF) 830 nm thermal Computer-to-Plate unit available. The Mondrian , will complement the PlateDriver series of internal drum CtP machines of Purup-Eskofot, now being launched at Print ’01 in Chicago. PlateDriver supports both visible light and thermal imaging. The Violet diode implementation of PlateDriver is the fastest 8-page commercial CtP device on the market. Furthermore, Barco Graphics will now be able to enlarge its Packaging Systems offering with the CtP portfolio of Purup-Eskofot. In this way the merger will give BPE the broadest line of Computer-to-Plate products and market leadership in a number of graphic arts and packaging business areas. After a delay in the shipment schedule of the Mondrian, deliveries will take off in October. The PlateDriver, which is now launched at Print ’01 in Chicago, will start being shipped out immediately after the Chicago-exhibition. These revenues will considerably improve the results of both companies, now merged in BPE. Print 01

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