Specialty chemicals group Altana and Landa Corporation have concluded an equity financing agreement under which Altana will invest 100 million EUR (135 million USD) for a minority stake in Landa Digital Printing.
In a statement the two companies said they ‘see the agreement not only as a financial investment, but also as a starting point for a long-term strategic partnership to bring digital printing solutions to the commercial, packaging and publishing markets’.
Other units of the Landa Group, including Landa Labs and Landa Ventures, are not included in the transaction.
The proceeds will be used for completing the development of Nanography, Landa’s water-based digital printing process, including engineering and production ramp-up of printing presses and building of manufacturing plants for Landa NanoInk colorants.
Altana is expected to be an active partner, drawing on print industry expertise gained from its divisions including BYK Additives & Instruments, Eckart Effect Pigments, and ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants.
‘We are extremely excited to be partnering with an industry visionary like Benny Landa,’ said Dr Matthias L. Wolfgruber, chief executive officer (CEO) of Altana AG. ‘We speak the same language in terms of innovation.’
‘I am confident that we are investing in a game-changing technology that can enable the printing industry to thrive in the 21st century and help our customers position themselves well for the future.’
Benny Landa, chairman and CEO of Landa Corporation, said: ‘We see our alliance with the Altana Group as a key milestone for our company and a strong vote of confidence in our mission to bring digital printing to mainstream commercial, packaging and publishing markets.’
This agreement marks the third strategic partnership made to bring Nanotechnology to the global printing market. Komori provides the platform for sheet handling and EFI will develop front-end software. Altana brings ‘the last piece to the puzzle’ with financing, and back-end support and global manufacturing ramp-up expertise.
‘Altana is an amazing company,’ said Benny Landa. ‘There’s a great cultural fit and we’re thrilled to have the deal. The company is a strategic investor with expertise in our markets – in fact, we’re already using some of their materials – but they’re not in any competing markets either, which is ideal. They have experience in scaling up huge global manufacturing facilities, and that is something that we’ll have to do, so we’ll leverage this.
‘Without funding we haven’t completed the picture. They are an essential piece of ramping up the infrastructure, the last piece to the puzzle – and now we are ready to race to market.’
Landa Digital Printing is focused on the mainstream economics of printing, rather than specialty jobs. As Benny Landa put it: ‘We want to make it easier to justify the investment and deliver opportunities based on customers’ existing jobs.’
Asked what printing will look like in the near future, Landa told L&L: 'The Internet of Things (IoT) and how it relates to consumer products holds endless possibilities, and this will require combining printed electronics with mainstream digital printing.’
Commercialization is on schedule and the first Nanographic presses should arrive at beta sites in the first half of 2015. Landa says he has received positive customer feedback so far. ‘They love what we’ve done and the improvements in the print quality.’