Fremont, CA 94555
Sales: $992M for EFI at the corporate level; Ink World estimates $140 million in ink and consumables.
Major Products: EFI has one of the graphic arts industry’s broadest inkjet portfolios with VUTEk, Jetrion, EFI Wide Format, Quantum, Reggiani and Cretaprint printers and presses. That portfolio has also made EFI the market leader in UV digital inkjet inks for the superwide- and, wide-format (e.g., billboards, signage, POP, etc.) and narrow web label printing markets. EFI offers a wide range of ink products for wide/superwide format and industrial inkjet markets, including UV, UV LED and water-based inks for direct to textile and transfer printing.
Key Personnel: Guy Gecht, CEO; Marc Olin, CFO; Ghilad Dziesietnik, CTO; Frank Mallozzi, SVP, worldwide sales and marketing; Scott Schinlever, SVP/GM, EFI Inkjet; Stephen Emery, VP for EFI’s Ink and New Business Development operations.
Number of Employees: Approximately 3,000.
Operating Facilities: 50+ worldwide offices.
Comments: Electronics For Imaging, Inc. (EFI) had an excellent year in 2016, as the company neared the billion-dollar mark in sales. For 2016, EFI reported revenue of $992.1 million up 12% year-over-year from 2015. Cash flow from operating activities was $121.1 million, up 77% compared to 2015.
“EFI delivered another record revenue quarter and our team’s execution drove significant improvements in margins, cash flow, and earnings per share, despite the negative impact of foreign currency,” said Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI. “As we start the new year, we are even more excited about the road ahead, especially with our upcoming introduction of the Nozomi platform targeted at digital printing for packaging.”
Meanwhile, the company’s ink operations continued to flourish.
Stephen Emery, VP of EFI’s Ink and New Business Development operations, noted that EFI put a lot of time and effort in showing the value of its inks, and it worked out well in 2016.
“While we were excited to grow our overall inkjet business with many of the advanced new printers we have brought to market, one of the brightest spots for the company was in the growth of our ink volumes,” Emery said. “We had record volumes of ink sold in 2016, and in the ceramics space – a market that does not typically have the printer/ink attach rates seen in other verticals – we outperformed our own aggressive expectations in terms of ink revenues.”
Emery said that the growth in ceramic inks was certainly a highlight, as is the development of inks for the new Nozomi C18000 corrugated inkjet press..
“We were pleased as well that the Cretaprint ceramic business received one of that industry’s highest honors, the Alfa De Oro Award, at the Cevisama trade show in April,” Emery reported. “I’m also proud of the work our global ink teams put into developing ink for our newest production product, the Nozomi C18000 single-pass corrugated board LED inkjet press. EFI called on all of its global R&D expertise for Nozomi, in inks, in single-pass inkjet transport systems, in workflow and more. On the ink end, we were able to meet aggressive deadlines with an ink that performs exceptionally well on corrugated board, which can be difficult surface to print, especially at high speeds.
“Corrugated inkjet production printing was the big story at drupa last year, from EFI and from our competitors, and it is great to know that, less then a year removed from drupa, we will have the first Nozomi presses installed at customer sites,” he added. “That’s not typical when print technology companies enter a new market.”
Emery reported that the progress made in the market with the Armor coatings line was another high point as well.
“Not only did our customers have a lot of success with the products, but the Armor line also won a Must See Ems Award, a Must See Ems best of category award, and a European Digital Press Award,” he added. “It was the only EFI product in 2016 to win all three of those honors.”
The company’s expertise in inkjet press manufacturing and inks is leading to new opportunities in packaging, including low migration digital ink technology.
“We are very fortunate to have world-class expertise both in inkjet ink development and single-pass inkjet at our Ypsilanti, MI operations,” said Emery. “That is vital to the successful launch of our Nozomi C18000 platform for corrugated packaging. We also put a lot of effort – in Ypsilanti and at our ink facilities worldwide – into developing low-migration and water-based LED-curable features for new and future ink platforms. Both features will be important for growing digital inkjet printing in the packaging space. We launched our first low-migration ink on the new Jetrion 4950LXe narrow web label press at Labelexpo last year.”
One key for EFI is to develop the technology customers want to continue to move away from print products that are commoditized to those that are maintaining or increasing in value.
“If you look at how the company is structured, we are walking that path along with our customers. We don’t have a large ink presence in the document/page printing technologies and our customers continue to tell us they get comparatively better margins in markets like signage and display and packaging,” Emery said.
Emery noted that one of the biggest opportunities for customers appears to be in more “industrial” printing spaces, where the imaging is meant as a decoration of some other functional product.
“Printing on the doors that Ikea sells is one good example,” he observed. “Those are printed using EFI printers and inks by a customer in Germany. Packaging is another good example, as is thermoforming, where customers can produce not only display signage, but also functional products for automotive and marine parts, for example.”
With the continued growth in digital, EFI is well positioned for the future.
“I am positive about 2017,” said Emery. “We launched three new printers at our Connect users’ conference in January, which was a first for us, and they are already performing very well at customer sites. So we are starting the year with the momentum in ink volumes that goes along with any successful printer launch.
“Plus, there’s a lot of pent-up demand for corrugated, where we know we can be a big help to customers,” he added. “If you calculate the volumes associated with the number of Nozomi presses we are going to start installing as if Q1 of this year, that will be another good sign for positive growth.
“On the product development side, our customers will see some important innovations from us at the shows we regularly exhibit at, such as Fespa, ISA and SGIA,” Emery concluded. “Plus we have even more of a focus on industrial verticals like the ceramics, wood, textile and flooring industries where there is a great deal of room to grow in digital inkjet technology.”