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Esko acquires Stonecube Ltd

Press release from the issuing company

Gent (Belgium), May 10, 2007 - Esko, the leading global system integrator for packaging pre-production, announces it has completed the acquisition of Stonecube Ltd, the leading developer of dynamic print visualization software, for an undisclosed amount. At the same time the two companies announce Esko Visualizer, the first product resulting from their joint development efforts. Stonecube - experts in dynamic print visualization Founded in January 2002 and located near Bristol, UK, Stonecube has been developing innovative, interactive 3D software applications for photorealistic and interactive visualization of special inks and finishes in print applications. The technology shows the resulting effects from various paper grades and other substrates, all kinds of inks including metallics, and decorative finishes such as varnishes, foils, embossing, glitter and flitter. Target applications include high value-added printing such as book and CD covers, greeting cards, and of course packaging and labels. Stonecube has been offering software products based on this technology to the general design and print market for a number of years. PrintDevizor, now in its second generation, lets you realistically view and experiment with variations of print and finishing options, interactively in 3D environments, and with true lighting conditions. PrintDevizor Pro has extra features which are essential for packaging, labels, greetings cards, publishing and print finishing - like die cutting, embossing and flitter - and to fold 2D designs up or roll them into a cylindrical shape. "Packaging is obviously a very important application for dynamic print visualization", comments Martin Coulthard, founder and CEO of Stonecube and now Director of Esko's Visualization Software Product Group. "Joining forces with Esko not only creates a channel to get our exciting and unique technology to a broader audience, but also brings it together with Esko's know-how on structural design, color management, interactive 3D rendering and packaging workflows in general. This is great news for both Esko customers and current users of Stonecube software". Esko Visualizer - A leap forward in integrated packaging design "Integrating the graphic and structural design workflows into a single collaborative design environment has been one of Esko's strategic directions for many years", says Carsten Knudsen, President and CEO. "Today, we take another step forward and give designers, brand owners and packaging producers the opportunity to accurately communicate and evaluate the impact of the actual substrates, inks and special finishes used for the final product early on in the design phase." Building onto the capabilities of PrintDevizor and existing Esko Software Suite 7 components, Esko Visualizer greatly simplifies the workflow for complex and folded packaging and display materials. "Esko Visualizer will revolutionize the way in which packaging design proposals are communicated, approved and accelerated into production", continues Knudsen. "We have been working closely together with the Stonecube team for several months to identify and refine specific requirements from product managers, creative talent and production experts. Having a first joint product out in such a short time illustrates the strategic and development synergies between our companies. We are very happy to welcome the Stonecube staff into the growing Esko family." PrintDevizor and PrintDevizor Pro are available for Windows PCs and as a Universal Binary for the Mac. For trial downloads and on-line purchases, visit www.stonecube.com, or contact one of the distribution partners listed on that website. Esko Visualizer will start shipping in July 2007, also in PC and Mac Universal Binary versions.