Kodak – An interview with Chris Payne on the recent sale of the Flexographic Packaging Division

Chris Payne, President of Kodak’s Flexographic Packaging Division (Source: Kodak)

What makes Montagu and Kodak’s flexo business a great fit?

Chris Payne: Montagu is a leading private equity firm that invests in mid-sized businesses. They have a varied portfolio – but all their companies command leading positions in attractive markets and can be described as businesses that would be ‘badly missed’ if they did not exist. This environment is clearly a great fit for the flexo packaging business with its market leading position in the package printing market. 

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How will Kodak’s Flexo business operate under Montagu?

Chris Payne: Under the new ownership the flexo packaging division will become a separate company and will operate as a self-contained standalone business. That includes all of the operations, such as R&D, Manufacturing, Sales, Service, IT and Finance. I will lead the new company as its CEO and, importantly, the current flexo packaging leadership team, my team, will continue to manage the business, including all the staff that work in the division today. Finally, we will sell the same Kodak branded flexo products, including our flagship Flexcel NX System, that our customers buy from us today.

What will the sale mean for Kodak’s Flexcel NX customers?

For Flexcel NX customers there will be very little change. It’s the same product, the same people and the same brand. At a fundamental level, we have been changing the nature of flexo, transforming flexo for the last ten years and we’ve been doing that in strong collaboration with all of our partners including our customers. Our strength comes from our customers. We’ve a track record, and it’s really ingrained in what we do, of helping our customers to differentiate – and none of that will change.

Under Montagu ownership, the Flexo packaging team will have the focus, agility and resources to maintain a constant stream of innovation for our customers and continue the journey of growth and transforming Flexo into the premium print process of choice for packaging. 

How does this move benefit the flexo industry in general?

Chris Payne: If you look back at the last ten years, Kodak flexo packaging has been transforming the flexo industry. Flexo printing used to be a very craft-based process, and increasingly it’s becoming an automated manufacturing process. And that’s really good when you think about improving quality and production efficiencies that we’re driving to deliver packaging more effectively for all of our customers. In turn that means that flexo is gaining share as a printing process versus gravure and offset and that’s good for everybody. And our journey has really only just begun. There’s many things that we’re working on within our business that can drive more improvements whether that be in quality or production efficiency.

As a standalone company we’ll have the agility to get even closer to our customers and innovate in more ways as we move forward, and that’s really good for flexo as a printing process in packaging. It means that flexo will no doubt become the premium production method for printed packaging and that’s great for our customers, and it’s frankly really exciting!

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