Datalogic to Resume Paying Dividend, Seeks Acquisition Targets

Datalogic SpA, Europe’s largest maker of barcode scanners, will resume dividend payments this year after posting “exceptional” results in 2010, Chief Executive Officer Mauro Sacchetto said.

The company, which didn’t pay a dividend last year, will pay about 10 euro cents ($0.14) per share, corresponding to between 28 percent and 30 percent of 2010 net income, Sacchetto said in a phone interview. About one in three supermarket-checkout scanners throughout the world is made by Datalogic, whose clients include Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Tesco Plc and Carrefour SA.

“It’s been a very positive year,” the CEO said. “We’ve gained market share and I see no reason why we shouldn’t share this with shareholders.”

Datalogic, based in Bologna, Italy, said Jan. 18 that preliminary revenue for 2010 rose 26 percent to 392.7 million euros. Sacchetto said that last year’s revenue and profit were already ahead of targets for 2011 in the company’s three-year business plan presented in October. The CEO said the company may raise targets around midyear.

“I’m confident 2011 will also be positive and we’ll keep gaining market share,” Sacchetto said. “It will be difficult to replicate last year’s performance.”

The company, which has about 2,000 employees in 30 countries across Europe, Asia and the U.S., is looking at acquisition opportunities in the factory-automation business. Datalogic is seeking to add as much as 100 million euros in revenue at the unit through an acquisition, the CEO said, focusing on sensors, identification and laser-marking products.

“There are negotiations under way but we are not going to overpay,” Sacchetto said. The company may finance acquisitions with debt or through a share sale, as “shareholders are ready to back us if we need fresh resources,” the CEO said.

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