Heidelberg May Be On the Acquisition Trail, Comments on RWE Position

Press release from the issuing company

  April 12, 2002 -- (WhatTheyThink.com) -- Heidelberg’s chairman Bernhard Schreier told the press at the IPEX show in England that they see significant consolidation in the prepress, print and finishing segments of the industry. According to Printweek, a leading trade journal in the UK, Schreier said, "In the last few months we have seen the pioneers of digital printing, Xeikon and Indigo, show that they are not able to establish themselves independently. Adast is also having difficulties. There are signs that consolidation will go on in pre-press, printing and finishing. We are not afraid, and Heidelberg will drive this process." Also, Schreier told the IPEX Daily that the company would do whatever it takes to be the worldwide leader. "We want to be a global player - whatever is needed in the professional print market should be offered by Heidelberg. That could be by a partnership, acquisition or OEM deal." Schreier would not say what actions they would take as it relates to the specific industry segments. "I don’t want to name just one because that would be too much of a clue. There are various segments where Heidelberg does not have a presence, including mailing, die-cutting and book binding. And we are not as present in the newspaper mailroom as we could be, either. But we are not in a hurry and not under pressure." The IPEX Daily said Schreier described the pre-press sector as "dangerous" and "shaking between the creatives and the printer". Heidelberg appears poised to cull its scanner range. Schreier was also sanguine about RWE’s plans to off load its 51% stake in Heidelberg according to the Daily. "It’s not because we are not performing well - we are and we are delivering our dividend every year. They have to clean up their portfolio, and to have a free float of more than 50% in Heidelberg has been the wish for us ever since we went public. It’s possible they sell to one investor or make a public offering. The second is the most logical, but it’s not our decision. If it goes in the right direction it will be heaven on earth for us." RWE’s primary business relates to the energy sector. The conglomerate has wanted to divest of non-energy related holdings for the past two years. RWE has recently accelerated the process.