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Vio shuts up shop in Australia as management buy-out struggles

Tuesday, 20 March 2001
By Print 21 Online Article

The financially troubled venture between Scitex and BT is subject of a management buyout in London with Scitex reporting that an agreement in principle has been signed for the technology company to offload its shares. Speculation on the make-up of the final offer is rife with no one at Vio able to make official comment on the moment.

The pull out is personally disappointing for local manager Richard Grieg who claims the company achieved the largest installed base in the Australian industry “by a long way.” With a core network of servers in Sydney Melbourne and Brisbane, the Vio system was adopted by over 100 local firms. Greig is continuing to assist custmers to migrate to other systems or to remain on the Vio internet access. He expects the company to shut up shop by the end of the month.

Remaining players WamNet and local entrepreneurs D2P continue to struggle to gain market share. WamNet has broadened its focus from the graphic arts industry to service the entertainment and financial markets. Revenue models for digital delivery services have still to produce a viable income stream.

In a related move Scitex will also sell its share of Karat, the in-line digital dry offset press, to joint venture partner KBA in return for future performance-related payments. KBA will take responsibility for manufacturing, sales and customer support of Karat digital presses worldwide. Some of the Karat technology has been used in the KBA Cortina, due for launch in 2002. But sales of the Karat have been disappointing since its official launch at Drupa as the market turns away from in-line imaging offset presses.

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