HP, the biggest single exhibitor at Ipex two years ago, will not be exhibiting at the next show, Ipex 2014, citing strategic reasons for its decision not to attend.
The decision by the developer of the Indigo digital presses, comes a month after it announced a substantial drop in income (31 per cent year on year) and a plan to trim its global workforce by 27,000 over the next two years resulting in a possible turnaround of the business in five years.
HP is also the world’s biggest wide format print systems developer, with the Scitex and DesignJet brands in its portfolio.
And it comes just a week after Heidelberg announced it would not be exhibiting at PacPrint in Melbourne. It highlights the dilemmas facing the big suppliers confronting massive investment in print shows these days.
At drupa two months ago HP was the second biggest exhibitor with some 50 digital presses on its 5,000sqm stand. The company says it will ‘absolutely’ be at the drupa 2016 show. It is also planning to attend Fespa 13.
Ronen Zioni, market development director of HP’s European graphic solutions business says, “Of course it is linked to return on investment, as always. It’s obviously a big decision for us and not one we took lightly, but it’s very much linked to shift more resources towards more regionally focused, application centric, customer engaging and business development projects for our customers.”
However with HP's new boCEO engaging in a massive cost cutting exercise aiming to save $3.5bn, and HP's print production group now coming under the auspices of its consumer printing business the reality is that HP's new bosses have simply not seen the value in Ipex.
HP’s non-appearance will be a blow to Ipex, which returns to London for the first time in 30 years in 2014. However Ipex says it has already sold 70 per cent of floorspace without HP.
Trevor Crawford, event director at Ipex owner Informa Print Group says, “Of course I’m disappointed, although I’m not entirely surprised because of some of the communications that have been coming out of HP.”
"We’ve always been very honest with our exhibitors, we have had HP on the floor plan, but we’ve been moving their footprint down in size for months and if anyone ever asked if they had confirmed the answer was always no.”
"Of course I would love to have HP at the show too, but I like to think that the 70 per cent that is on the show floor are not exhibiting at Ipex because of HP – they’re exhibiting because we deliver a significant ROI to them and the visitors.” Crawford added.
However Crawford was hopeful that HP will reconsider its decision to not participate with the show still almost two years away, although Zioni says the decision is final.