Salmat asked the commission for permission to bid last month, although it says it may not necessarily do so. It will however be gaining a four hour insight into its main rival in the transactional printing market, as HPA managing director Terry Daly and other senior executives deliver their sale presentation to potential owners, now including Salmat, a situation which senior HPA executive told Australian Printer was 'strange but we have to do it."
The ACCC ruled that although a Salmat / HPA business would have a virtual monopoly the barriers to entry for new competitors were low enough to attract new players.
The bid winner is likely to be spending in the region of $300m for the business. There are thought to be five bidders on the HPA shortlist, which is being managed by Morgan Stanley. PMP which many in the industry thought would be a lead bidder, as HPA seems a natural fit, has ruled itself out, with its CEO Brian Evans concluding that HPA 'doesn't have much growth potential.' In addition to Salmat other bidders are thought to include Computershare and private equity firms.
HPA's revenue for 2006 was $172m, and while Salmat's $500m turnover dwarves this that income is derived form three divisions, of which transactional printing is the smallest.