Textile printing supplier SPGPrints acquired by financial investor Investcorp

SPGPrints Group, leading textile printing hardware and consumables supplier, acquired by financial investor Investcorp

rotary-screen-textile-printingFinancial investors are taking more interest in the textile printing and digital printing space. Investcorp, a global provider and manager of alternative investment products, has announced the acquisition of SPGPrints Group B.V from Bencis Capital Partners. SPGPrints, a Dutch company formerly known as Stork Prints, is a leading supplier of printing systems and consumables for textile printing[1,2]. According to the press announcement by Investcorp, the deal was closed for 240 mio €.

Earlier this year, the acquisition of the leading Italian digital printing company MS by Dover was announced[3].

SPGPrints is headquartered in Boxmeer, Netherlands, represented in more than 100 countries worldwide and generated revenue of €214 mio € in 2013. The company is operating in a challenging market environment. SPGPrints is well known and respected as the market leader of high quality rotary screens in the textile printing market. While rotary screen printing is still by far the prevailing printing technology in textile printing worldwide, the market is at the edge of converting from analogue (rotary screen and flat screen) to digital printing (ink jet printing)[4] since the launch of fast and highly productive single pass ink jet printers, in particular by Italian company MS. Their LaRio printer is the benchmark in industrial ink jet printers for textile printing – LaRio can print faster than rotary screen printers. Apart from an epic jump in digital printing productivity, ink prices are rapidly declining. Digital printing has become more and more competitive and will probably capture significant parts of new investments in the textile printing market. Today, the market share of digital printing is still low, with less than 3% based on printed textiles. But this will change in the next years.

While SPGPrints is the undisputed market leader of high quality rotary screens, competition is much tougher in the digital printing space. SPGPrints also sells hardware (printers) and consumables in the digital (ink jet) printing market and is an important player, but is facing competition with Italian and Japanese printing suppliers for the hardware, as well as with various players for the digital inks. The competition in digital inks include the printer suppliers´ own inks, ink formulators and large chemical companies such as dyes manufacturers who see the inks as a attractive niche to boost their notoriously low margin business. The challenge for SPGprints will be to manage the conversion to digital printing. The digital printing market and technology is very dynamic and it will be exiting to watch what happened in the near future.

[1] Investcorp website announcement
[2] SPGPrints website announcement
[3] Leading Italian ink jet printing company MS bought by US corporation Dover
[4] Finally the digital revolution in textile ink jet printing has started

Christian Schumacher

Dr. Christian Schumacher is the founder and managing director of StepChange Innovations GmbH, a technology development and consulting firm based in Germany. He has more than 20 years of experience in the chemical industry with global players such as Hoechst AG and DyStar Textilfarben GmbH as head of R&D, senior regional business manager Asia Pacific, head of e-commerce, head of marketing services, new product development manager and R&D chemist.

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