Italian packaging press specialist Uteco has been bought by private equity group NB Renaissance Partners. The investment company has acquired a controlling stake in the Verona based business leaving the current majority shareholders with a stake of 9% and 10% respectively.
Uteco has grown rapidly under the leadership of CEO Aldo Peretti and CFO Simone Quinto. It achieved sales of €58 million in 2008, rising to €127 million in 2017. Production covers gravure, flexo and now digital presses.
Uteco scored one of the hits of the recent Print4All show in Milan with the Gaia inkjet label press and has also installed a first example of the Sapphire Evo digital flexo press at an Italian printer. This is a joint development with Kodak, using Kodak’s Stream printheads.
However, flexo presses are the main product, dominating the installed base of more than 3,000 machines, the first installed 30 years ago and still in operation. As well as three factories in Italy, there is a plant in the US. These delivered 100 machines last year, 80 of them flexo presses. This makes the Italian company the leading supplier of flexo presses worldwide.
At the end of last year during a presentation at the Verona plant, Peretti explained: “We need to be visible to everybody around the world, recognised as the worldwide leader in terms of machines for printing, laminating and converting flexible packaging.” During the Print4All exhibition at the end of May, the company held an open house, shuttling visitors to the showroom at the factory from the Milan exhibition centre.
Now with the investment confirmed, he and Quinto have issued a joint statement: “Now there are opportunities for growth in terms of innovative technological developments and productive investments for the Uteco Group – the fourth plant in Italy should be operational from the end year – to strengthen the position on all world markets and for targeted strategic acquisitions, to characterise Uteco more and more as a centre of attraction and excellence of Made in Italy all over the world.”
This is the stared goal with NB Renaissance where in a statement partners TEXTMarco Feroni and Stefano Bontempelli say: “Uteco today occupies a unique position in its chosen market and our goal is to support management to further accelerate the growth of the group at the international level.”
The focus for development in flexo has been on rapid start up and minimisation of waste. The company has acquired a number of patents to this effect, around automating the start up process and using inline inspection systems. There is remote monitoring via cloud technology.
As well as the standard CI machines at various widths, the company is equipped to build custom designs: a US customer has placed an order for 11 machines combining a flexo press with two grabber units.
UK customers include International Greetings.