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Sericol to be acquired by Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.

Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. signed an agreement Jan. 19 to acquire Sericol for $230 million from an investment group led by Saratoga Partners. The deal is expected to close in late February.

Sericol is the world leader in the production of premium inks and other consumables for the screen-printing and narrow web industries. It has also aggressively expanded and taken a leading position in the wide format digital ink market, and is a technology leader in UV screen, flexo and digital inks.

Fujifilm plans to operate Sericol as one of the key business units within its printing business and its current management, including chief executive Ed Carhart, will remain with the company. Sericol has 1,200 employees worldwide, and had estimated sales of $275 million in 2004.

"The acquisition will further expand and develop Fujifilm's printing business, one of the company's core businesses into other areas of industrial and package printing which are expected to grow steadily in demand," a Fujifilm official said.

"We are very pleased and excited with this change of ownership," Mr. Carhart said. "Fujifilm is a well run, innovative, technology driven company with extensive resources that we will be able to draw upon to continue to grow all facets of our business. We are well on our way of meeting our goal set in 2002 to double the size of the company over the next five to seven years, and with the support of Fujifilm, we believe that we will not only attain this goal, but surpass it in a shorter period."

Sericol's rapid growth in the burgeoning wide format segment was one key to Fujifilm's acquisition.

"Fujifilm's initial interest in Sericol emanates from our global market leadership position in wide format graphics, more specifically our rapid penetration of the wide format digital ink market," Mr. Carhart said. "Fujifilm also recognized the strategic importance of our global leadership in the screen market. Sericol not only provides Fujifilm strong revenue and cash generation, but also dominance of important distribution channels. This will become increasingly important as traditional graphic markets slowly migrate to digital."

Saratoga Partners, a New York based middle-market private-equity firm, acquired Sericol from BP subsidiary Burmah Castrol plc in January 2003 for a reported $115 million.

"Since the Saratoga buyout, Sericol has experienced excellent growth in our core screen business," Mr. Carhart said. "The growth of the screen business, together with Sericol's rapid emergence as a major worldwide competitor in the wide format digital ink and narrow web ink markets, attracted interest from several large trade buyers. While Saratoga and management were not looking to sell the business at this time, it was our responsibility to examine legitimate offers that produced a fair return for investors, and more importantly, provided the right long-term environment for Sericol, its employees and customers. After almost a year of close assessment by both sides, it became apparent that Fujifilm's acquisition of Sericol was in the best interest of both companies."
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Title Annotation:fresh Ink
Author:Savastano, David
Publication:Ink World
Date:Feb 1, 2005
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