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EFI to Acquire Vutek

(April 2005) posted on Fri Apr 15, 2005

"We'll now have more of an end-to-end solution,"? says Vutek, as it introduces two new machines.


EFI has signed an agreement to acquire privately held VUTEk, Inc. for approximately $281 million in cash. EFI expects the transaction to close early in the third quarter of 2005, subject to regulatory approval.

"Vutek will be an excellent addition to EFI's range of best-of-breed innovative solutions for the commercial print market," says Guy Gecht, EFI's CEO. "There are many natural synergies between EFI's core expertise in digital-printing innovation and Vutek's digital inkjet technology"?With Vutek's profitable business model, we expect this acquisition to "? provide EFI with new revenue streams in the future."

This was a natural next step for EFI, says Gecht, and Vutek was the company's first choice when it came to printer OEMs: "The superwide printing segment is a fast-growing segment of the graphic-arts market, and we had the privilege of looking over the market and talking to a lot of the large players. We knew we had some choices, but felt Vutek was the best acquisition to enter the market"?it was the largest company in terms of revenue, plus its UV applications bring interesting advantages to our customers."
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Another Vutek aspect that impressed EFI was its corporate culture. "Both companies have creative, innovative, hard working people who are passionate about the printing industry," he says. "The companies are an exact match. We believe in the same things. And we each run our companies in a relatively lean, hands-on approach."
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EFI, says Gecht, can bring to Vutek its software capabilities and provide financial stability, as well as market reach into the commercial side of the graphic market. In turn, adding Vutek will help EFI expand what it can bring to those commercial customers. "We'll be able to help people find new ways of generating business for themselves, providing more services to their customers," says Gehct. In addition, he points out, EFI will also benefit from Vutek's recurring revenue stream in ink and service (which make up about 40% of all Vutek revenues).

"We are excited to become part of the EFI team as their worldwide reputation, deep industry relationships and financial stability will allow us to gain greater market reach and provide our valued customers with an even higher quality of service, " says Art Cleary, Vutek's co-founder. "Our customers and employees will also benefit from EFI's culture of innovation, allowing us to remain on the leading edge."
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"Vutek will now be able to differentiate itself in other ways beyond print quality and speed," says Scott Schinlever, Vutek's vice president of marketing. "As our customers install multiple machines and begin driving a lot of volume through their shops, workflow becomes more and key--especially as turnaround times keeps shrinking. We'll now have more of an end-to-end solution that customers will be able to use to run their entire business, and not just produce output."

Headquartered in Meredith, NH, Vutek has more than 300 employees worldwide. In 2004, it reported revenues of approximately $130 million. At this spring's ISA show in Orlando, Vutek announced two new wide-format printers: the UltraVu 260 and the UltraVu II 5330.

The 103-in. roll-to-roll UltraVu 260 solvent printer features 6-color (CMYKcm) printing, 360-dpi addressable resolution (720-dpi apparent), and the ability to print onto a variety of uncoated media. Priced at $99,000, this entry-level printer produces graphics that can be used for P-O-P advertising, window displays, floor graphics, posters, fleet graphics, and outdoor banners. Print speeds range from 400 sq ft/hr in Enhanced 1-pass mode to 200 sq ft/hr in Ultra 2-pass mode. The printer also comes standard with the ColorBurst Pro RIP, 3.25-l ink tanks, and a 2-yr outdoor durability warranty, which extends to a 5-yr warranty with Aquashield The UltraVu 260 will ship mid-year 2005.

The 16.4-ft UltraVu II 5330 EC offers resolutions up to 330 dpi (300 x 360), and Fast-4 or high-quality 8-color solvent-ink printing. Compared to the UltraVu 5330 EC, which it replaces, the UltraVu II 5330 delivers faster production, featuring print speeds up to 2230 sq ft/hr in Fast-4 (4-color x 2) high mode versus the older machine's 2100 sq ft/hr and up to 670 sq ft/hr in Fast-4 ultra mode; in 8-color mode, the UltraVu II 5330 EC speeds range from 670 sq ft/hr in Enhanced mode to 330 sq ft/hr ultra mode. Other new features include the Smoothing feature for producing distortion-free output when printing images with heavy color saturation, 3.25-l ink tanks, and the Low Friction kit that allows difficult materials to be run more easily. The new machine also has upgraded software(UltraVu II 5330 RIP), which can be downloaded by existing UltraVu 5330 customers. (EFI: www.efi.com, Vutek: www.vutek.com)


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