Bayer to Spin Off Digital Printer Agfa

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On-demand digital printer and one-to-one marketing proponent Agfa will be spun off as a separate company, German parent Bayer AG said last week. Belgium-based Agfa, with U.S. headquarters in Ridgefield Park, NJ, sells the Chromapress digital printing system and Personalizer-X software that links variable text data from a database with a choice of page-layout templates to create personalized marketing pieces. The spinoff will allow Agfa to use its stock to raise more capital for expansion and acquisition than would have been possible as a subsidiary of chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer. Agfa's commercial imaging business, which includes Chromapress operations, generated revenues of $3.2 billion in 1997. Bayer will list up to 75 percent of Agfa shares on a European stock exchange in the second quarter of 1999. "Agfa is a profitable company with a good future, but it operates in completely different markets and uses different technology than Bayer," said Bayer CEO Manfred Schneider. "Agfa will, therefore, be able to develop better as an independent company."

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