Meanwhile, IDTechEx places the 2019 revenue for the HF market, including NFC, at $3,842 million. This includes contactless payment and transit cards.
With an eye on this growth, Avery Dennison made a major move, acquiring the RFID inlay business of Smartrac Group, thus combining two major RFID suppliers, for €225 million, subject to certain closing and post-closing adjustments. Smartrac’s RFID inlay division had an estimated revenue of approximately €125 million in 2019, and approximately 900 employees. Together, the two companies will have more than $450 million in revenue in RFID.
The deal is expected to close in early 2020, and Smartrac RFID group will be integrated into Avery Dennison’s Intelligent Labels platform.
“This acquisition reflects a continuation of our strategy to invest, both organically and through M&A, to shift our portfolio towards faster-growing, higher-value categories,” said Mitch Butier, Avery Dennison chairman, president and CEO, in announcing the acquisition. “Smartrac’s Transponder Division represents an excellent strategic fit for us, accelerating our strategy to expand our Intelligent Labels platform across a variety of end markets and customers within the industrial and retail segments, and extending our reach to new channels."
As part of the deal, Avery Dennison will acquire Smartrac’s Transponder business and associated assets, including manufacturing, R&D, sales and administration facilities, as well as employees. Francisco Melo, VP and GM, intelligent labels for Avery Dennison, spoke about the acquisition and noted that the addition of Smartrac’s RFID inlay business will benefit Avery Dennison’s capabilities in a number of important areas.
“First, it will provide access to markets we haven’t been focusing on before, particularly the industrial areas,” Melo observed. “This will expand our reach into the automotive segment, where Smartrac has been very active.
“It will also expand our technology platform,” he added. “Avery Dennison is focused on UHF, but Smartrac is also active in other frequencies, including HF and LF solutions. This will give us a broader product portfolio. Their footprint is also complimentary, as they have inlay manufacturing in four locations – North Carolina, China, Malaysia and Germany, as well as offices in other locations. Accelerating the adoption of RFID needs the right people, and people are a core element within our team at Avery Dennison as well as at Smartrac.
“For our customers, the acquisition of Smartrac’s RFID inlay capabilities will expand our market and extend our portfolio,” he noted. “The capability of offering a broader offering into specific areas will be very important in retail as well as industrial.”
Melo observed that Avery Dennison’s RFID operations are doing well, and the addition of Smartrac’s RFID inlay capabilities should add to that expansion.
Bringing together the companies’ expertise in RAIN, HF and LF capabilities will allow for new products that will better fit the needs of customers.
“We are growing at a 20% pace, slightly ahead of the RFID market’s growth,” he said. “This space is growing very fast, and the expectation is that it will continue to grow.
“We are going to combine our companies’ deep knowledge in RF and RFID technology,” Melo concluded. “If a customer needs to have a sensor with a passive UHF inlay to detect moisture, that is an area that Smartrac is strong in. They are complementary solutions. I fundamentally believe that cross-pollination will nurture that research, and develop new solutions will make supply chains more efficient and reduce waste, which is important in today’s world.”
About the author: David Savastano is the editor of L&NW sister publications Ink World and Printed Electronics Now.