Würzburg/Dobruska: German press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA) has agreed to purchase Czech counterpart Grafitec, spol. s r. o. from American investment fund Charles Investment Partners and minority shareholders for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition is part of a strategic expansion drive in the small-format sheetfed offset market and builds on the dynamic growth now being experienced in KBA’s global sales of medium- and large-format presses.
Based in Dobruska, near Hradec Králové, Grafitec employs 400 people. Over the past few years Grafitec has focused considerable resources on product development, driving year-on-year sales growth of over 50% in 2004. Key markets for its Polly Prestige and Polly Performer presses for a sheet size of 520 x 740mm (20½” x 29”) and 485 x 660mm (19” x 26”) respectively are Europe and the USA. At the Drupa 2004 print media trade fair the company launched a new generation of the Polly Prestige 74DE for 2, 4, 5 or 6 colours plus optional coater, with which it is targeting medium-sized printers and further expansion in Latin America and Asia.
Grafitec’s product line will complement KBA’s Rapida 74, Rapida 74 G and 74 Karat whose higher level of automation, broader choice of substrates (including plastic and board), inline finishing options and configurations (long perfectors) address the high end of the market. The Polly series targets small to medium sized printshops, printers in emerging markets and new players in the classic multicolour commercial market – three areas where KBA sees enormous potential for growth.
Petr Skrla, Grafitec’s CEO, comments: “The transaction gives Grafitec a strong parent company with significant financial, R&D and distribution resources. This will allow the company to continue its impressive sales performance and improve its manufacturing base, while maintaining its strong customer focus.”
Albrecht Bolza-Schunemann, president and CEO of KBA, comments: “Grafitec strengthens our strategic position in small-format presses and our market position in Central and Eastern Europe. We believe we will be able to continue to service and further grow Grafitec’s customer base.”
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.