Industry Vendors Dominate Headlines
SOUTH WINDSOR, CT—Normally, it's the printer side of the business that makes most of the news. But in recent weeks, the noise has been coming from the supplier side. Here's an overview of the changes in the supplier landscape in the past weeks:
* Gerber Scientific has agreed to sell its Gerber Systems unit to BARCO Graphics, the U.S. arm of BARCO of Belgium, for an undisclosed cash payment and royalties on future sales of certain products.
Gerber Systems had sales of approximately $45 million in fiscal year 1997, but had been incurring losses in the CTP business recently, Gerber officials say. Gerber's Graphic Arts division will become part of the Printer Systems division of BARCO Graphics.
"This acquisition will strengthen BARCO Graphics' position as a market leader in high-throughput systems for the graphic arts industry, and it confirms BARCO Graphics' commitment to serve prepress and publishing customers on a global scale," says Bruno Pairon, vice president of BARCO and managing director of BARCO Graphics. "We will be in a position to offer outstanding CTP solutions across a wide range of markets."
* In a marriage that would have seemed highly unlikely even a few months ago, digital transfer powerhouse WAM!NET plans to acquire ISDN pioneer 4-Sight, according to company officials.
"The flaws we perceived in the past with WAM!NET are 4-Sight's strengths," declared Lyndon Stickley, 4-Sight's president, in an exclusive interview. "What that means for our customers is that they will be getting the best of both technologies."
Stickley, who is now bound for Europe to spearhead ISDN and digital file connectivity endeavors there on behalf of the newly combined company, stressed that WAM!NET becomes "a truly global company" by purchasing 4-Sight.
* Heidelberg USA had some announcements as well, recently, as it welcomed the Heidelberg Digital Imaging Association (HDIA), formerly the Linotype Hell Users Group (LHUG), to its headquarters in Kennesaw, GA.
While Heidelberg Prepress will no longer market the Herkules plate, it is further casting its line into the imagesetter market with the introduction of a new imagesetter product, the Signasetter Pro.
* Meanwhile, claiming that the digital printing industry has finally evolved from the early adopter stage to mainstream usage, Indigo N.V. Chairman and Founder Benny Landa recently unveiled the TurboStream digital press before a group of trade press editors at Indigo America's headquarters in Woburn, MA.
Featuring front-end processing improvements over the E-Print 1000+, the new TurboStream is said to provide faster proofing and the ability to deal with larger job files. Already shipping to customers in the United States and Europe, the TurboStream carries a list price of $399,000. Current E-Print 1000+ users can upgrade their machines to TurboStream capabilities for $79,000.
* Following the abrupt resignation of President and CEO Kenneth D. Newton, Screen (USA) is scaling down its U.S. effort, with a restructuring of sales and marketing initiatives, according to insiders at the company. Look for more departures from Screen (USA)'s executive personnel. Toshihiko Kusaba replaces Newton as president of Screen.