How did Verico Technology come into being?
Yuval Dubois: When I took over as CEO at Presstek in mid 2017 it was clear to me that we would sell a part of the business in order to allow us to restructure and focus on growing and profitable areas of business. Mark Andy turned out to be the right partner to take over the DI product lines. Subsequently, we renamed the core of the company, which we retained, in order to signal to staff and the market that we were looking to the future with a new spring in our step. and that we would be concentrating on new products. In my view, over many years Presstek was constantly on the defensive in its efforts to promote its traditional DI products. One product line that we have, on the other hand, retained and for which I see a very good future, is the waterless plate. We are really targeting this. For me, it’s a growth market and it’s not for sale.
How was the name Verico chosen?
YD: It stands for ‘versatile innovative coating’. It is our production sites and coating machines that represent the core of the company. This is the technology that we will expand the business with - and not just in the printing industry.
Isn’t coating technology the core area of what was Presstek?
YD: Yes, indeed. What we have sold is the Presstek name and a product portfolio that we have been identified with for 20 years and that people were familiar with. But it is the production sites [that] are the core of the firm. We have retained all of these and they belong to the company that has adopted the new name of Verico Technology. It is here that we will also continue to make products for which other companies, such as Mark Andy, have acquired the sales rights [for].
What do you mean by production sites?
YD: Shortly after I became CEO I authorised a major investment spend in order to build or extend a production line, allowing us to expand our capabilities. There have been many structural changes in the factory since then and I am proud of our new company. Partly automated, partly renovated. We’re now talking about a surface area of 6,500 square metres. And we have a further 7,900 square metres where we handle the aluminium.
What are the core capabilities of these production sites?
YD: We employ some very smart people in R&D, especially chemists, who are outstandingly able when it comes to developing printing plates—and coating technologies in general. In the waterless sector we have unbelievable printing technology know-how. Here we’ve probably got the best people in the industry—both in development and also in plate application and in sales.
What’s your view of the market situation for the Zahara plate?
YD: Very good. I couldn’t wish for it to be better. I can see how the sales figures are climbing and how positively the plate has been received. I hear the feedback from customers. And what pleases me most is that customers are enthusiastic about our water-based concept. I am very satisfied with the current position and I think that this will continue. For waterless printing in general, it is a positive thing that there is now a second plate supplier and that things are happening here. Presstek itself was already one of the leading firms in the development of waterless technology and so it’s not as if we are some kind of newcomer. We have simply repositioned ourselves and our products. That things are going so well, especially in Europe, is also down to the sales team that we have in place here.
Are there areas for new products that Verico has its eyes on?
YD: We will expand the waterless printing sector - through new versions of plates for specific market segments. We made a start last year with the ‘newspaper plate’ for Cortina users. Then we launched our narrow-web plate. We want to move forward in this way. We will also expand the portfolio associated with our plates - through environmentally friendly products that fit in with our company philosophy. We’re also looking outside the printing industry at areas where we could offer our applications. We’re already working on this and are undertaking initial trials with customers in both healthcare and electronics. We are silicon coating specialists and we see an increasing requirement for such coatings.
What sets Verico Technology apart from its main competitor?
YD: If we look at the products that we are developing, such as the Zahara plate, for example, then we of course find a well-established market served by solid products. That means that it is important to stand out. For me, the spirit of the time with its greater awareness of the environment were an obvious place to start. Given we’re already developing products, it makes sense to offer customers something that’s actually wanted. We can supply environmentally friendly products that are also financially attractive. Here we are talking about fundamental values that are important to all of us. About water, air. It is the right time to think this way.
What’s your view of the general waterless offset situation?
YD: To be honest, I was hoping for even more growth. Naturally, I’m happy to see how Codimag is growing in the narrow web sector against flexo. In other areas more needs to happen in order to make a breakthrough.
Who is behind Verico Technology?
YD: American Industrial Partners, an investment company, continues to own the company and nothing will change there. There are advantages in this for Verico, because AIP has specialised in the printing industry through, for example, the takeover of Goss International. The amalgamation that has now brought Goss and Manroland together has expanded the portfolio and we are in good hands with AIP.
Is AIP in it for the long term?
YD: The concept is similar to that of other funds but the time frames for AIP’s commitment are longer. A lot of this is to do with the fact that AIP is not a fund involved in the high-tech sector but rather in traditional industries such as steel or printing. Here, restructuring processes simply take longer. AIP is very successful, which means that our customers can rely on a rock solid partner.