Agfa-Gevaert is all about image. The company makes and markets imaging systems for printing, graphic arts, motion picture, and medical imaging processes. Agfa-Gevaert Graphics (more than half of sales) makes prepress film and printing plates, industrial inkjet printers, and related supplies. It also provides workflow automation, proofing, and digital printing software. Agfa's health care unit offers films, chemicals, software, and printers used in digital radiography and other medical applications. The company's specialty products serve other industries, offering film for sound and image recording to the movie industry, synthetic paper, specialty films for printed circuit boards, and industrial inkjet inks.
Agfa's graphics business includes not only prepress products but also industrial inkjet printing. Imaging products make up 60% of the health care segment, while the remainder of the unit's sales come from IT services, such as image and data networks, information systems, and picture archiving and communication systems (PACS).
By native currency, Agfa's revenues grew nearly 3% in 2011 to about €3 billion ($3.9 billion). Higher prices on key materials such as silver and aluminum, however, negated that growth, making its gross profit 15% lower than in 2010. That contributed to the company's net loss for the year of more than $90 million.
As digital approaches continue to overtake conventional printing, Agfa has been pursuing the growing industrial inkjet, wide format printing market. Two other key trends in imaging and printing technology are the need for shorter production run-lengths and for print-on-demand capabilities. As print media becomes more focused and targeted to specific markets, printers are called upon to produce shorter runs of specific publications.
In 2010 Agfa made acquisitions that serve the company's strategy of focusing more on industrial inkjet products, which are a leading edge in digital print technologies. It bought the assets of the Harold M. Pitman Company, a family-owned supplier of prepress, industrial inkjet, press, and packaging printing products. Earlier that year the company acquired the assets of Gandi Innovations Holdings, a manufacturer of large-format inkjet systems, and Insight Agents, a European developer and producer of contrast media used in health care imaging applications.
Recent efforts at expanding its smallest geographic segment -- Latin America, at less than 10% of sales -- has included the 2011 purchase of Brazilian healthcare IT company WPD. The purchase supplements its radiology-related imaging and IT presence in that country by branching into the hospital information systems market. It will provide a stronger base for the furtherance of its ORBIS clinical information system. – less