Barco Takes Majority Share In projectiondesign

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

It’s an active end-of-year with yet another acquisition: This time it’s Barco, the Kortrijk, Belgium-based global company in digital visualization, which has acquired 61% of the shares of projectiondesign, a Norway-based company in projection technology.

The purchase was made from private equity fund Herkules Capital. The remaining shares of projectiondesign are held by minority shareholders. The sale price was not announced.

The press release stated that the combination of Barco and projectiondesign “creates a market strength in projection solutions for both large-and mid-venue markets. The transaction advances Barco’s strategy to expand into the mid-segment of its target markets and to strengthen its top position in high-performance projection technology”.

Projectiondesign develops and manufactures compact projectors for a variety of professional markets including training and simulation, visitor attractions (museums, theme parks), scientific visualization, collaboration rooms (Corporate AV) and control rooms. The compact projectors are equipped with high-quality optics, high resolution and LED illumination, and feature quiet operation. The company custom-designs and develops all optics, hardware, software and industrial design for each projector model in-house. Founded in 2001, projectiondesign is headquartered in Fredrikstad, Norway, and has 17 international offices. The company employs about 200 people and achieved sales of approximately €57 million (approximately US$75.8 million) in 2011.

“Projectiondesign is a very well respected leader for projectors in the below 10k lumens range for professional markets,” says Eric Van Zele, Barco’s president and CEO.

“The company enjoys an enviable reputation for combining innovative technology with leading design. This investment clearly underscores our determination to pursue global growth in all mid-segment markets. With projectiondesign, we will expand our portfolio to offer state-of-the-art solutions for the Simulation, Virtual Reality and Corporate AV markets as we continue to leverage our global sales coverage and our channels in Asia and Latin America in particular.”

Projectiondesign’s product portfolio of compact, high-quality projectors rounds out Barco’s portfolio of business, large-venue and simulation projectors.

The companies now offer complementary technology in that Barco’s focus on 3-chip DLP technology and high-brightness solutions for the large-venue market fits well with the focus of projectiondesign on developing 1-chip DLP solutions for the mid-venue market. This collaboration between two industrial players will open up further growth opportunities in the mid-venue market.

They also have a complementary geographic footprint: Projectiondesign has a strong presence in Northern Europe while Barco has strong sales coverage in Asia, Latin America and Europe. By joining forces with projectiondesign, Barco will also increase its coverage in North America. (Those who attended the Barco/Live Dots presentation evening in New York during the Digital Signage Week in October will be well aware of that company’s strong offerings.)

Projectiondesign and Barco also share a similar entrepreneurial culture and both companies place high value on innovation and customer satisfaction.

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