Times of change

14 September 2005

The changing face of our industry is highlighted by two items this month. The announcement of a new printing and converting show focuses on the blurring of distinctions between commercial and package printing. And the seemingly never-ending round of acquisitions and mergers has prompted publication of a study that considers how many of the UK's top 1,000 paper companies are most exposed to take-over.

The new PackPrint show to be held alongside Graph Expo in Chicago next year will focus on package printing and converting. Regis J Delmontagne, president of organizer the Graphic Arts Show Co, observes: "As the differences between commercial printing and package printing become less distinct, manufacturers and printers are seeking a single event that allows them to review equipment and supplies for both disciplines in one place. We were aware of this phenomenon prior to launching the converting initiative at Print 05 & Converting 05, and will carry this idea over in to this new event."

The FTA has teamed with GASC to produce PackPrint because it shares the belief "that there is benefit to all involved, in mirroring the industry convergence between commercial and package printing".

Whatever the reasons, everyone will surely welcome any rationalization in the number of shows we have to attend each year – except, of course, the exhibition companies. (Incidentally - in yet another change - Paperloop has sold CMM International).

With the continuing industry consolidation in mind, Plimsoll Publishing has commissioned the new analysis looking into the vulnerability of UK paper companies; it names 37 of them as classic acquisition targets.

Meanwhile, the take-overs and mergers just keep on coming. Most recently, we have seen that Hewlett-Packard is to acquire Scitex Vision, Drent Goebel has taken over RDP Marathon, Esko-Graphics' packaging activities will have a new owner, and the authorities have approved the proposed acquisition of Flint Ink by XSYS Print Solutions and their subsequent merger.

While these changes are always heralded as positive moves, it will surely be a good thing for the industry as a whole when the cycle finally ends, and we can have a period of stability – for a change.

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