Mark Andy takes over Presstek

Mark Andy, which mainly manufactures label presses, has acquired Presstek from venture capital firm American Industrial Partners for an undisclosed sum. Presstek is best known for its direct imaging plates and presses and the deal includes these as well as its CtP products and worldwide service network.

Presstek is best known for its DI presses such as this 34DI press, which works with LED UV curing.

However, this deal does not include Presstek’s Zahara waterless plates division, which is really the most interesting part of the Presstek portfolio. Instead, this will be spun off into a new company, Verico Technology, headed by Yuval Dubois, who was the president and CEO of Presstek prior to this deal (and is still listed as such on the Presstek website at time of writing). There’s a small but growing interest in waterless printing and the Zahara plates have gained a good reputation, which Verico will look to build on.

It’s also worth noting that Presstek sold off some assets related to its CTP portfolio last September to Southern Lithoplate Inc (SLP). This included wet offset thermal and violet plate products, namely Nytro, GemPlate, GemPlate HC, NuVio and HSUV. However, Presstek retained its Anthem Elite thermal plates and the Dimension Pro thermal platesetter as well as the JT Direct Inkjet Plates, which can be imaged in an Epson inkjet printer.

In truth, this acquisition is not a big surprise as Presstek’s DI offering has increasingly become a niche product. Direct imaging was briefly popular at the beginning of the century where it was seen as a halfway house between the long run offset presses and the very short capabilities of the digital printers that existed then. But offset presses became more efficient and more viable at shorter run lengths, while digital presses have continued to evolve and to offer longer run lengths.

Mark Andy was the most obvious suitor for Presstek, given that Mark Andy already fulfils all of Presstek’s North American DI and CtP orders. Mark Andy has already acquired the Presstek Repair Parts and Service business so that all fix and repair parts have been processed through Mark Andy’s online shop since 1st January this year. Presstek’s remaining 60 technical staff will now join the Mark Andy Print Products (MAPP) organisation.

But the two companies also have a deeper history with Mark Andy having earlier acquired Presstek’s offset supplies business, including AB Dick, as well as a variety of prepress, pressroom supplies, consumables, and chemistries back in 2013. Mark Andy, which dates back to 1946, was itself also owned by American Industrial Partners, until a management buy-out back in 2014.

Kevin Wilken, CEO, Mark Andy, commented: “Presstek has been a force in the small and medium format offset segment for many years.  Presstek’s DI plates and equipment and CTP solutions are well-respected throughout the industry, and I am happy to welcome the Presstek employees and products into the Mark Andy family.  We expect Presstek’s customers to benefit from Mark Andy’s stable leadership, tremendous customer service and unmatched product offerings, including MAPP offset print supplies and consumables and Mark Andy digital print equipment.”

It appears that for now Presstek’s UK operation will continue to serve customers in Europe and the Middle East, with Ian Pollock, Director, Presstek EAMER, stating: “There will be no changes in current ordering processes, contact details or distribution logistics. All will remain the same for the EAMER customer base currently transacting with the UK location.” That said, it seems inevitable to me that Mark Andy will eventually merge the European Presstek business into its own organisation, if only to optimise its own costs.





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