“We’re going to be the strongest power in the US graphic-arts market.”
Agfa Graphics has signed an agreement to purchase the assets of the Harold M. Pitman Company, the US supplier of prepress, industrial inkjet, pressroom, and packaging-printing products and systems.
"Pitman's strong distribution network and broad portfolio of products and systems, combined with our leading technology, will provide us with promising growth opportunities in this strategically important region,” says Stefaan Vanhooren, Agfa Graphics president. “One glance at Pitman's extensive catalog is enough to understand that we will considerably expand our scope. One of the main drivers behind this decision was the fact that we gain a unique opportunity to significantly grow our inkjet business."
Pitman will continue to operate as a subsidiary of the Agfa company. “The Pitman brand and company are icons, and we have every intention of continuing that brand and reputation,” says Peter Wilkens, president, Agfa Graphics North America. “We’re going to be the strongest power in the US graphic-arts market.”
Based in Totowa, New Jersey, the Pitman Company currently employs 502 and has 16 locations throughout the US. It was founded in 1906 in Chicago as a manufacturer of steel dyes and copper plates for engravers. Over time, it phased out the manufacturing side of the business, opting to become a full-time supplier of other companies’ wares. Today, its products are segmented into seven business divisions: Commercial Printing, Wide Format, Pressroom, Digital Imaging, Packaging, Newspaper, and Technical Design. In its wide-format printer offerings, the company’s website references Canon, EFI, Epson, HP, and Mimaki brands as just some of the nameplates that it sells. The company also owns the domain, inkjet.com.
When it comes to wide-format hardware, says Wilkens, the acquisition brings with it “…some overlap with wide format [and] we’ll work through that. We’ll work very hard to work together to have the best portfolio we can have. We want to offer the most wide-ranging and powerful portfolio to our customers.”
"Our family built the Pitman Company into an industry-leading graphic solutions provider and for over 50 years we have been strategic partners with Agfa,” says Paul F. Schmidt Jr., Pitman chairman of the board. “I feel very confident about this new chapter in the history of the Pitman Company and I know that it is the combined force of Pitman and Agfa that will drive this company to the next level by providing present and future customers a greater value package of goods and services."
In a press release, Agfa noted these bulletpoints:
• Acquisition boosts Agfa Graphics' revenue in the US to more than $500 million;
• EBIT margin of acquired Pitman business is expected to be well in line with Agfa Graphics' global 7 percent EBIT target;
• After the closing, Agfa expects further growth of its US top line resulting from the combination of expertise available in both companies; and
• Agfa expects strong synergies to be delivered from the consolidation of sales forces and the reduction of G&A expenses.
In January of this year, Agfa closed its acquisition of Gandinnovations, adding to its wide-format rollfed and flatbed printer roster. The company also has recently increased its stake in Dilli Precision Industries in South Korea (Agfa re-brands several Dilli printers) and has strengthened its relationship with Chinese partner Shenzhen Brothers.
In early July, Eastman Kodak announced that it had notified Pitman that Kodak was terminating Pitman’s right to distribute all Kodak products; the termination takes effect at the end of business on October 5, 2010. Kodak also named Xpedx the company’s primary U.S. national authorized reseller for Kodak’s suite of commercial prepress products.