Smartrac announced the deal to purchase UPM’s RFID division on Dec. 22. As part of the deal, UPM-Kymmene Corp. will become an indirect shareholder in Smartrac with a 10.6 percent economic interest in the company.
UPM RFID is a leading supplier of passive RFID products specializing in the development and high-volume production of HF, NFC, and UHF RFID tags and inlays for use in a broad range of RFID applications. UPM RFID consists of three companies located in Finland, China and the U.S.
The deal provides Smartrac with a strong product offering for NFC and UHF RFID tags and inlays and adds additional manufacturing capacity to Smartrac’s global production network. UPM gives Smartrac instant access to the burgeoning retail item level market, something its portfolio lacked prior.
“Over the last year or two we’ve seen Smartrac develop some speciality tags and get more involved in the UHF space, but they really didn’t have much of a sweet spot in retail,” Mike Liard, head of the RFID practice at VDC Research, told RFID 24-7 earlier this year. “UPM is more than just retail focused, but what they are doing in retail will certainly augment what Smartrac is doing in that space.”
Liard expects the deal to complement Smartrac’s industrial application business. Both companies have a strong presence in the industrial sector, and bringing together that marketplace will make for a stronger single entity.
“We are very pleased to welcome the very experienced and capable team from UPM RFID on board,” Dr. Christian Fischer, CEO of Smartrac, said in a release. “With the completion of the transaction, we are now in the excellent position to support customers with the best product portfolio, the broadest technology base, the best R&D capabilities, the largest production capacity over all frequencies, and the best team in the global RFID-industry. Together, and with our unique company spirit, we will be able to successfully shape the coming years of excellence, leadership, innovative power, and success.”