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EskoArtwork expands distributor network in Eastern Europe

Press release from the issuing company

Gent (Belgium), June 24 th , 2008 – Three new reseller agreements have been signed up at drupa by EskoArtwork in order to meet demand in the Eastern European display and packaging markets, where its revenues are increasing annually by 30 to 60 percent. The company's Kongsberg cutting tables will now be offered by Romanian companies ProPrint SRL and Grup Transilvae, both of Transylvania, and Croatian distributor Fortuna Komers, in this region.

EskoArtwork's new contracts are well-timed to react to the exponential growth in this important geographical area following the merger between Esko and Artwork Systems in August 2007. The trio of newly-signed dealers will provide EskoArtwork customers in the region with sales and support services. Grup Transilvae and Fortuna Komers are both long-standing distributors of the full range of HP Designjet and HP Scitex printers, from aqueous- and mild-solvent based products through to wide- and superwide-format UV-curable options. The main customer base for these two companies are within the display and sign-making sectors whilst ProPrint specialises in the packaging industry. All three distributors realise the importance of adding the ability to add cutting, creasing and folding options to their portfolios.

"We have 20 years of experience in the offset market but since we added the digital side four years ago we've seen 25 to 35 percent year-on-year growth," explains Vice Stanic, sales manager of Fortuna Komers. "Our customers demand high standards of product and that's why we believe in this new distribution channel, which combines our existing print portfolio with the expertise of EskoArtwork Kongsberg in cutting tables and software."

Bogdan Vasilescu, general manager of Grup Transilvae comments: "We've been a distributor within the display and packaging areas since 1991 when we started as a software related business before moving into digital proofing. Offering our customers the Kongsberg range of cutting tables from EskoArtwork completes our catalogue of quality products."

As a newer enterprise, ProPrint was formed last year by EskoArtwork's established Hungarian reseller, Partners Ltd. Horatiu Stef, ProPrint Sales Director states: "The Romanian packaging industry has responded very positively to our appointment and, with the growth of the Romanian market, it was clear that EskoArtwork needed direct local representation."

ProPrint is based in the city of Cluj-Napoca and was set up in 2007 by EskoArtwork's longstanding Hungarian reseller, Partners Ltd. of Budapest. Hora?iu ?tef, explaines: "With the growth of the Romanian market, it was clear that EskoArtwork needed direct local representation. I'm delighted that we have been able to demonstrate the skills and local knowledge to secure distribution rights in our country, and we are thankful to Partners Ltd. for their ongoing support and knowledge transfer. For the time being, our customers will continue to benefit from Partners' technical and software expertise, but we intend to recruit and train our own technical staff at the earliest opportunity."

?tef sees busy times ahead: "There is already a significant EskoArtwork installed base in Romania and the market as a whole is looking for solutions that will deliver greater workflow efficiencies. The Romanian packaging industry has responded very positively to our appointment and drupa 2008 provided us a great platform to introduce ProPrint to many more customers."

Eastern European growth strategy

"Eastern Europe is already our fastest growing region worldwide, and I'm confident that we will have more opportunities over the coming years, particularly in flexo plate making and software. I'm delighted that we have the right people on board to support this further expansion of our business," says David Joelsen, EskoArtwork Sales Manager for Eastern Europe.

EskoArtwork is reaping the rewards of a long-term strategy in Eastern Europe and Russia based on stable, long-term partner relationships and knowledge transfer, with a focus on the latest products and technologies in the company portfolio. This strategy has been further boosted by the synergies achieved with the merger of Esko and Artwork Systems in August 2007. "The merger has given us new channels and allowed us to present a more comprehensive solutions-based proposition. Selling integrated product and software solutions takes more time and requires a high level of technical competence, but customers appreciate the added value so it is more rewarding for all parties," states Joelsen.

The market for flexible packaging in Eastern Europe is forecast to increase by 6%–7% per year to 2010, with Russia and Ukraine seeing even larger increases. This is roughly double the European average; only China and India are predicted to see higher growth rates, according to recent research. [1]

"With the exceptions of China and India this is the fastest growing market region in the world," explains David Joelsen, EskoArtwork sales manager for Eastern Europe. "Our long-term strategy in this territory was to form stable partner relationships with companies like these three that have the local knowledge needed to provide new channels and allow us to present a more comprehensive solutions-based proposition to our customers. It would be impossible to move comprehensively into this area without the support of companies that know not only the regional bases involved but also the specific demands of the indigenous clients."
[1] Source: PCI Films Consulting