Agfa on front foot with Inca sales

Agfa has signed its first contracts for the Inca Speedset single-pass sheetfed inkjet press, and for Agfa-branded Onset wide-format printers.

16 Nov 2022 | By PrintWeek Team

Inca Speedset: development is on track

Speaking as the group announced its Q3 results, CEO Pascal Juéry said that Agfa was also taking over Inca sales from Fujifilm slightly earlier than originally envisaged. “This will cost us a bit in the short-term, but we are going to be able to plug our inks into these machines,” he stated. 

Juéry said that margins on the Inca products would be “higher than on our previous portfolio”.

Agfa completed the acquisition of Inca in June. 

Juéry also said that Inca was fully on track with development of the next Speedset model for packaging.

The B1 format Speedset has a flat substrate path and prints at 150-m/min, or 11,000sph B1, with the first model targeted at folding cartons. Agfa has hinted that the device “might get wider, it might print corrugated”.

The results involved something of a mixed picture at its Digital Print & Chemicals wing. While sales of sign and display products grew strongly, its industrial inkjet for décor printing business was hit by postponed orders due to the weakening economic environment with construction and décor firms in Europe focusing their spend on insulation and energy. 

However, Agfa said that décor sales were expected to bounce back.  

Its Orgacon conductive materials wing, used in hybrid and electric cars, did not grow as expected due to supply chain issues in that industry.

Sales at the Digital Print & Chemicals wing rose by 16.4% to pound 84-m but the division slipped to a euros 3.6-m adjusted EBIT loss compared to a euros 900,000 profit in the same period last year. 

Agfa said it was preparing “additional measures” to address the challenges in Digital Print & Chemicals and at its Radiology Solutions wing, as well as outlining its post-offset structure.

Further details of what the measures would involve were not disclosed. 

Results at the Offset Solutions business – which is being sold to Aurelius Group – improved dramatically. 

Adjusted EBITDA more than quadrupled to euros 12.7-m, a margin of 6.4% (2021: 1.3%), on sales up 3.3% to euros 199-m. 

Agfa stated: “The division successfully implemented price increases to tackle the overall cost inflation, among others for raw materials, packaging and freight.”

The division is also increasing its focus on high-value regions.

The carve out of the Offset Solutions business is complex, with staff transferring in two directions. 

Restructuring and one-off items increased by nearly 86% to €13m, due to transformation projects including organising Offset Solutions as a standalone legal entity, and the reorganisation of the group’s operating model. 

Juéry commented: “The deal is going through and we are working in good collaboration with the buyer.”

It is expected to complete in Q1 2023. 

Agfa has also “fully de-risked” its UK pension scheme via a second “buy-in transaction” that transfers all related risks to an insurance company. 

At its other operations, sales of medical film at Radiology Solutions was badly hit by lockdowns in China, while its Healthcare IT division benefited from some large contract wins. 

Overall sales were up 7.8% to euros 474-m, with Adjusted EBITDA margins static at 4.9%. 

The group’s share price fell by 5.5% on the announcement, and subsequently slipped to a new 52-week low of euros 2.84, although it has since recovered to euros 2.90 (52-week high: euros 4.16).

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