Western European printer sales grow in quarter

October 30, 2014

Sales increased by three percent in the third quarter of the financial year.western europe

Market analysts Context reported on the growth in printer sales in Western Europe in the third quarter of the 2014 financial year, with units sales growing by three percent year-on-year. Context stated that “continuous positive performance of laser MFPs”, alongside “increasing distribution sales of inkjet MFPs”, have driven the growth for the region.

Laser and inkjet MFPs grew in unit sales terms by nine and seven percent respectively, with laser MFPs “driven by colour laser” to year-on-year distribution sales growth of 15 percent, whilst monochrome grew by three percent. Most of the nations in the region also registered positive growth in distribution sales, except France and a few Nordic nations, where “decline was registered”.

The Netherlands, Switzerland and Spain registered double-digit growth in distribution sales of 25 percent, 22 percent and 14 percent respectively, whilst Austria and the UK saw eight and five percent growth in unit sales. Other nations faired slightly well, with Germany, Belgium and Sweden growing by 1.4 percent, 0.8 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.

In terms of nations seeing declines, France’s four percent decline and Italy’s 0.3 percent fall were less than those of Norway, Ireland, Denmark and Finland, which saw 14.1 percent, 16.6 percent, 19.1 percent and 19.5 percent declines in the quarter year-over-year.

OEM-wise, Brother and Lexmark saw unit sales increase by 28 and 24 percent respectively in laser MFP and single-function distribution, while Canon, Kyocera and Ricoh saw negative performance “due to weak sales of laser single-function printers”. However, these three OEMs did also see year-on-year unit sales of laser MFPs grow in the quarter by 20 percent, 51 percent and 32 percent respectively.

Zivile Brazdziunaite, Imaging Market Analyst at Context, commented: “Looking at vendor performance, HP, Brother and Lexmark recorded double-digit year-on?year unit sales growth across Western European distribution in Q3 2014. HP registered strong year?on?year distribution sales performance of 24 percent in the inkjet MFP category and seven percent in the laser MFP category in Q3 2014.”

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Sensient parent company agrees credit agreement

October 28, 2014

Sensient logoThe company will receive $450 million through the “revolving credit facility”.

ABL Advisor reported on the credit agreement, worth $450 million (€354 million), between Sensient Technologies Corporation and nine US banks, including Wells Fargo and KeyBank, who are operating as Administrative Agent and Syndication Agent respectively on the agreement.

The credit “facility” transaction consists of a five year revolver – a loan without a fixed number of repayments – worth $350 million (€275 million) and a $100 million (€78 million) loan that will be “used to refinance current bank debt and for general corporate purposes”. The agreement was posted as an SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) filing, with the “amended and restated credit agreement” replacing a previous $350 million revolver that “matures” in April 2016.

Paul Manning, President and CEO at Sensient Technologies Corporation, commented: “This facility provides Sensient with access to ample liquidity for the next five years. The transaction was significantly oversubscribed and we are very pleased with the support from our bank group.”

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Print-Rite reveals new 3D printers

October 23, 2014

Print-Rite's CoLiDo Duo 1.0 3D printer

Print-Rite’s CoLiDo Duo 1.0 3D printer

The company’s CoLiDo range is expanding to three new models.

The first CoLiDo 3D printer was launched in June earlier this year, and Print-Rite has reported that it gained “wide recognition” in the market”. As a result, and “sustaining Print-Rite’s DNA of leading an innovation”, the company has announced three new models of the machine in what it calls a “road map” plan.

The three models include the CoLiDo 2.0, which has an “upgraded operating system for quick startup and ease of use”; the CoLiDo Duo 1.0, which has a “creative design” using two nozzles and “two different materials and […] colours”; and the CoLiDo X3045, which “make[s] print[ed] object[s] bigger than ever with stable print performance”. The new machines, the company added, “showcase [its] commitment in R&D”.

Print-Rite added that the machines allow designers and “hobbyists” to “enjoy a new industrial age”, as they allow for creation of 3D shapes and models “that were not previously feasible”, and mean manufacturers “no longer need factories and assembly lines to produce many prototypes and items, either at the office or home”.

The printers are also compliant with both CE and FCC specifications, meaning they are “free from toxic or hazardous materials” and “meet US safety standard[s] for sales in the US market”. In turn, the devices passed the China National Quality Supervising Test for Consumables of Printing and Office Automation, as well as meeting the requirement of the Enterprise Standard.

Software, controller boards and firmware developed in-house by Print-Rite are also used to run the 3D printers, with the original model said to be able to “produce high precision with resolution at 0.1mm in low noise level[s]”.

Philip So, Director and Chief of New Product Development at Print-Rite, stated: “Print-Rite is the pioneer launching the 3D printer with over 10 patents granted; our CoLiDo Desktop 3D Printer range brings reliable, stable and precision model for wide applications especially for designer and engineers.”

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Indian government to streamline business registration

October 22, 2014

Businesses will be able to be registered in one day, rather than the 27 required now.india

Times of India reported on the Indian government’s plan to “make India a better place to do business”, with a range of reforms announced including “working to cut down the time for registering a business from 27 days to a single day” as well as “single registration for all labour laws”, an overhaul of taxation systems, a reduction of the number of required permits, an easing of property registration and quicker electricity connections.

The government reacted as a consequence of India being placed 134 out of 189 countries worldwide in the World Bank’s “Ease of doing business” index, behind China (96), Pakistan (110) and Bangladesh (130). Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Make in India’ campaign at the end of September to “transform India into a global manufacturing hub by encouraging foreign businesses to invest in the country”, with these moves part of that process.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is the “nodal agency” for ensuring the passage of the reforms, with a timeframe of three to six months set “for implementing the changes”, with all government ministries asked “to come on board and work to reform the regulatory structure”, including an “overhaul [of] the investment climate”. Additionally, individual states are also being asked to help out with their own reforms, in order to “cut down delays”.

In terms of the tax system reforms, the government is suggesting a reduction in the number of taxes, the online payment of taxes, an incorporation of education taxes under corporation taxes “to simplify the process”, and the abolishment of the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT), which is enforced on developers of special economic zones (SEZs).

Inspections of low risk businesses would be stopped, whilst computer-based selection would be undertaken in terms of inspecting high-risk businesses, and a uniform policy and procedure for all states was suggested “so as to enable the single-window clearance system” for businesses. The government cited Malaysia, New Zealand, Canada, Rwanda, Turkey and the UAE as examples of nations that have “eas[ed] up the processes and reduce[d] delays” in business applications.

One final, challenging hurdle is ensuring electric connectivity for businesses, with the government recommending “removing the requirement of pollution control certificates for providing a connection”, whilst state electricity boards and the ministry for power “have been asked to simplify procedures”. An anonymous official concluded that “to achieve all this, the government, along with the states, will need to carry out radical measures on a war footing.”

US investors pledged around $45 billion (€33.5 billion) to India in terms of investment earlier this month, and you can read more about ‘Make in India’ and how it could affect the country’s remanufacturing industry in a future issue of The Recycler.

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UK ISPs ordered to block counterfeit-selling sites

October 21, 2014

UK High Court ruling now requires internet providers to block sites selling counterfeit products.

The Royal Courts of Justice, where the UK High Court is based

The Royal Courts of Justice, where the UK High Court is based

The Whir reported on the ruling on Friday 17 October at the UK High Court, in a case filed by the Richemont/Cartier Group against five UK ISPs (internet service providers) who represent 95 percent of UK broadband users. The ruling states that ISPs “must try to block sites selling counterfeit goods on the internet”, and is the “first ruling of its kind in the UK”.

The group had seen a number of orders issued against the five ISPs – BskyB, BT, EE, TalkTalk and Virgin Media – concerning the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988’s section 97A, which were issued in order to “block sites selling counterfeit versions” of goods that the group produces. The site notes however that “use of the internet to traffic counterfeit goods is a global problem”, with the value of counterfeit goods in 2015 expected to reach $960 billion (€749 billion).

The site notes that the decision is “somewhat controversial” as “aside from providing an internet connection, ISPs have no connection to counterfeit goods or content”, and it also forces them “to take on the cost of blocking content [which] while minimal, the ongoing burden could eventually prove more costly”.

The UK seizes more counterfeit products “than any other member of the [EU]”, and the European Commission has stated that the top six categories of seized counterfeit goods “were most likely to have been ordered on the internet”. However, The Whir notes that the “precedent” set by the ruling could “put ISPs at risk for more expense as similar decision and possible lawsuits occur in the future”.

It added reference to The Guardian’s analysis of the case, including the fact that “another contentious aspect of the decision is that the judge relied on the fact that ISPs had already innovated, under political pressure, to block child abuse images and institute parental controls”, which meant that they had the “infrastructure necessary to block counterfeit websites”.

You can view the court ruling here. A study earlier this year from HP found that the annual cost to the printing industry of counterfeit cartridges and machines is around $3 billion (€2.1 billion).

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Toner procurement costs rising

October 20, 2014

Toner prices set to rise in next few years, though third-party suppliers mean that the market has a “high level of competition” that forces a “slower pace” of price increases.toner powder

Virtual-Strategy reported on IBISWorld’s market research study of the toner procurement market, which has “been updated” as a consequence of rising toner prices “during the past three years”. As a result of market factors, prices are set to continue rising, but “at a slightly slower rate” than over these three years.

The analysts note that manufacturers of toner powder “have been raising prices” over the past three years in order to “boost profit in the face of increasing demand”, and predict that over the next three years, input costs “are forecast to rise at a slower pace, resulting in smaller price growth”. These changes are IBISWorld’s rationale for updating its report on the market, as well as the motivation to “help procurement professionals make better buying decisions faster”.

IBISWorld added that toner procurement has a “buyer power score of three out of five, which “reflects moderately favourable market conditions for buyers”, but with prices pushed “upward because the price of plastic material inputs has been increasing”, the average price has increased annually at a rate of 4.4 percent, which “reflects an unfavourable price trend for buyers”.

The aforementioned input costs are said to be “largely” the cause of the price rises, with both plastic materials and resin prices increasing at an average annual rate of 5.3 percent in the past three years as well. To add to this, demand has increased as “more businesses and consumers have been spending on printing needs”, with the “increased reliance” on digital documents “mitigating some of this demand”.

The “proprietary shapes” of the toner produced by many manufacturers also contribute, as manufacturers “have been able to raise prices to boost revenue and profit” because their certain types of toner are “required” for use of the printers and copiers consumers have. IBISWorld noted that the input costs mentioned are “highly volatile” as well, with oil and iron ore “highly volatile” source materials used in toner through plastic and iron oxide respectively.

Despite this, the input cost rises “have not translated to wide fluctuations in toner prices”, with suppliers enjoying “some cushion[ing] when input costs rise unexpectedly, because manufacturers earn high profit margins on printer toner”. This does unfortunately result in “some risk for buyers”, and a “low availability of substitute goods” compounds the issue, as the “lock[ing]” in of users allows manufacturers to “raise prices without significantly harming sales”.

The analysts conclude that despite the rising prices, the “level of market share concentration” for toner is “low”, thanks to a “large number of suppliers operat[ing] in this market”, and while OEMs dominate, “less expensive third-party alternatives are widely available”. IBISWorld believes that this “high level of competition” stop suppliers from “raising prices too quickly”, and that a “low level of product specialisation allows buyers to easily switch suppliers”.

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HP was still in merger talks after split

October 16, 2014

The OEM was still looking to merge with EMC even after splitting into two new companies.hplogonew

BostInno reported on how the merger talks “seem to have ended” between HP and cloud technology company EMC, “probably over the price” of such a deal, with Reuters confirming that “executives from the two companies were still trying to hammer to a deal as recently as last week, but talks bogged down on price and are now dead”.

The news site noted that the price being a sticking point “was no surprise”, as the previous announcement that the two companies were looking to merge late last month mentioned a “price impasse” that halted negotiations. The interesting aspect of the developments is that negotiations “apparently resumed” after HP announced its plans to split into two companies, which The Recycler reported on here.

HP reported it will split its PC and printing businesses into HP Inc., whilst its software and services offerings will form Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, but the previous talks between it and EMC had seen it plan to spin off its PC and printing businesses in the merger, so it can be seen that the split would not have affected any potential merger.

Joseph Wittine of Longbow Research added that “an EMC valuation of $33 to $34 (€25 to €26)” would “get the deal done” between the two companies, with EMC’s stock worth $27 (€21) earlier this week, but BostInno stated that a “generous premium may have caused” HP CEO Meg Whitman to turn down the deal “considering all of the other benefits EMC would gain” in comparison to what HP would.

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Inkjet conference deemed “tremendous success”

October 15, 2014

ESMA_IJC14_ConferenceFirst ever ‘The Inkjet Conference’ event received excellent ratings from attendees and speakers.

The European Specialist Printing Manufacturer’s Association (ESMA) announced that the first ever ‘The Inkjet Conference’ event was a “tremendous success” in bringing together technical and academic experts in inkjet and digital printing, with the two-day conference in Neuss, Dusseldorf attracting more than 300 attendees earlier this month.

The conference, hosted by ESMA and sponsored by drupa, was described by Sidel SpA’s Stefano Corradini as “an excellent collection point for today’s experts in the world of digital printing”, with 41 industry experts delivering over 30 presentations on topics such as UV-LED systems, piezo inkjet for precision dispensing of functional materials, system integration from an ink point of view, improving the inkjet industry by implementing intelligent sensors, and industrial inkjet for packaging.

Industry and academic leaders in their fields spoke about the latest advances and future developments driving digital print, with the conference focusing on inkjet engineering, a review on fluid and ink components such as nano particles, conductive, aqueous and UV inks, and an academic track open to all universities and non-commercial research institutes to present their work.

Rick Hulme of ink manufacturer Sun Chemical, noted that the event was a “new and exciting conference which has brought the industry together to discuss inkjet, its capabilities and opportunities, both now and in the future”, while fellow attendee Luc Van Damme said it was “a great starting point to follow the developmental course of DOD and nanoparticles throughout the next exciting upcoming years”. The range of attendees was also welcomed by Xaar’s Jason Remnant, who said that it “help[ed] broaden customer opportunities and networking options”.

Steve Knight, Founder of Digital Direct, who runs ‘The Inkjet Conference’, said: “As well as the updates on the significant technological steps being made by suppliers and experts in this arena, the event also presented the wealth of opportunities for collaboration, inter-industry developments and cross-market adoption.”

Meanwhile, Peter Buttiens, CEO of ESMA, commented: “The energy and buzz surrounding the first edition of ‘The Inkjet Conference’is indicative of the excitement we are seeing across the industry regarding the capabilities the new technology is offering. It is so interesting to be a part of the conversation that is exploring what the next steps could and should be.”

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Print-Rite appears on Times Square screens

October 13, 2014

printritetimessquare2014The company’s CEO Arnald Ho appeared on screens in New York City.

The company appeared on screens in New York City’s Times Square for the second time, after appearing in February 2012, and stated that it is the “only aftermarket manufacturer that has been [featured on] Times Square twice”.

The appearance formed part of the company’s brand new “corporate driving message”, entitled ‘Our innovation, Your success!’, which Print-Rite states goes alongside “elements of innovation and being green”, with the company “employing a new way to tell its brand story and its core corporate value of innovation”.

Adding to its reveal of the Times Square appearance, Print-Rite acknowledged the recent settlement between itself and Canon in the USA, stating that it “resolved the case with Canon in a prompt and professional manner with a strong understanding and respect [of] intellectual property”.

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ITDL expansion on track

October 10, 2014

ITDL's new plant under construction

ITDL’s new plant under construction

Toner manufacturer plans to have expansion completed by end of financial year 2014, boosting total production capacity to 3,000 metric tons per year.

Akshat Jain, President of New Delhi-based Indian Toners and Developers Ltd. (ITDL), told The Recycler that the new plant, which is located at the company’s subsidiary ITDL Imagetec Ltd.’s facility in Sitargunj, Uttarakhand, is “on track” to be completed by the end of the 2014 financial year as the company looks to meet the increasing demand of its customers in India and overseas.

While Jain explained that “there is no target as such” for the plant’s completion, he confirmed that “the plant and equipment have been ordered and are on their way from Germany and other parts, and as of now we are on target”. However, he added that “there are always delays of two to three weeks in installations” which could set the date back.

The Sitargunj Plant

The Sitargunj Plant

The plant will have a production capacity of 600 metric tons per year, taking the company’s overall production total to 3,000 metric tons per year; and Jain explained it is being built as “we have utilised 100 percent of our capacity at our Sitargunj facility”. Both mono and dual component mechanically-produced toners will be manufactured at the plant, and a significant number of jobs will be created as a result of the expansion.

“We want to make sure we deliver a quality product to our customers, because they deserve it,” said Jain, “This is how we will conduct business at ITDL.”

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