Apart from any future involvement in digital newspaper printing, Flint Group's acquisition of Xeikon matters to publishers as the maker of Agfa's CTP systems.
The purchase of XBC BV, which owns more than 95 per cent of Xeikon NV, is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Ink and consumables maker Flint has been building its digital printing activities, and Xeikon chief executive Wim Maes is joining Flint as president of its digital printing solutions division, reporting to group chief executive Antoine Fady.
Headquartered in Eede in the Netherlands - with operations in Lier, Ieper and Heultje (Belgium) - Xeikon designs, develops and delivers high-end digital colour presses and consumables for the global commercial, document, label and packaging market segments.
The new division will expand the activities of both in equipment, consumables and services across global markets.
Fady (pictured) says the acquisition propels Flint Group further into the digital solutions market: "Xeikon have a proven history of delivering exceptional value through high-quality, high-productivity, innovative and sustainable solutions for their customers, which fits seamlessly with our own long-term vision for our business."
Flint is headquartered in Luxembourg, and employs 6800 people, with revenue last year of 2.1 billion Euros (US$2.8 billion). It claims to be number one or number two supplier in every major market segment it serves. It is owned by Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division in partnership with Koch Equity Development LLC, a subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc.
Xeikon has its roots in 1961 when Dirk Strobbe formed a Belgian company to make photomechanical typesetting machines. It introduced its first CTP system - aimed at the newspaper market - in the mid 1990s, and quickly signed an OEM agreement with Agfa to produce its CTP equipment, helping both to market leadership. In 1999, Strobbe was acquired by Punch Group which was renamed Xeikon - after its higher profile digital printing brand - in 2011.
Xeikon also makes flexo plate imaging equipment, which it sells as ThermoFlexX, a disused brand name it bought from Kodak.