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Linoprint launch marks end of partnership

Friday, 23 March 2012
By Print 21 Online Article

Heidelberg’s upcoming drupa launch of its Linoprint range of digital short-run presses has signalled the end of its highly successful two-year exclusive Australian partnership with Konica Minolta.

The arrangement, which had been in effect since 2010, saw the German company exclusively promote Konica Minolta’s range of Bizhub presses in the Australian market. However, this week, both companies announced that the arrangement had come to an end.

With Heidelberg signing a global partnership with Ricoh, and Konica Minolta signing a global arrangement with Komori, it was only a matter of time before the partnership came to an end. However, Konica Minolta Australia’s general manager of Production Printing, David Procter, says that he would have liked to see the exclusive arrangement continue.

“The relationship was a strong one, and Konica Minolta would have loved to continue that relationship,” says Procter (pictured). “The relationship between the two organisations is still an excellent one, but it’s an unfortunate decision made by Heidelberg globally.”

Although the partnership has ended, Procter says that customers who had purchased Konica Minolta presses from Heidelberg will continue to receive full support from Konica Minolta. “Under the existing service agreements, Heidelberg and Konica Minolta will work closely together to ensure ongoing satisfaction from our customers,” he says.

Konica Minolta’s managing director, Hiro Kaji, says that, while the two-year partnership had been highly successful and had allowed the company to increase its presence in the in the industry, the decision to end the arrangement had been expected following the announcement by Heidelberg that it would release its Linoprint range into the market at drupa this year.

“While working to retain this partnership in Australia for as long as possible, we knew that eventually it was likely that it would head in this direction after Heidelberg’s global decision to launch the Linoprint range of digital presses at drupa,” says Kaji.

The end of the relationship in Australia between Heidelberg and Konica Minolta will allow both companies to now focus on new global distribution partnerships.

While Heidelberg’s Linoprint launch has resulted from its growing global partnership with Ricoh, Konica Minolta’s partnership with Komori Corporation to develop an inkjet prototype marks the promising beginning of a global arrangement between the two companies.

Under the agreement, Konica Minolta’s Bizhub range of presses will now be supplied to Komori in several global markets, including Japan, the US, Europe and China.

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