Domino Printing Sees U.S. Egg Venture Growth to Cut Infections

Domino Printing Sciences Plc, a U.K. supplier of ink and barcode equipment, sees its joint venture for tracking eggs in the U.S. expanding in other countries as consumers demand protection from infections such as salmonella, Managing Director Nigel Bond said.

“The volume countries are going to be of significant interest -- I’d imagine countries like China, Brazil,” Bond said in an interview in Cambridge, England, yesterday. Potential clients include “anyone who inputs into the American market, so nearby countries like Canada, Mexico,” he said. “The potential’s enormous.”

Demand from consumers, as well as tightening regulation, such as the EU’s falsified medicines directive, which aims to cut bootlegged drug supply, will drive demand for the company’s products, he said. Domino is supplying its printers to the joint venture company, which will provide a system that can trace eggs to the farms where they’re produced.

More than 72 billion eggs are produced in the U.S. each year, and in excess of 500 million were recalled in 2010 because of salmonella poisoning, according to Domino. Consumers of eggs coded by the system may use a website to see which farm the eggs came from and, if there is a health scare, if the farm is affected. Domino acquired 15 percent in the joint venture with NewMarket Impressions LLC for $50 million, it said last month.

Acquisition Strategy

Domino will make acquisitions to keep its technology range up to date, Bond said.

“I’m sure if you had been sat here 20 years ago, talking to the MD then, he’d have said we’ve got a full portfolio, but technology moves on,” he said. “I expect over the next 10 years, other technologies will come along, some of which we will partner with people on, some of which we will acquire.”

Domino is working on new technology, including inks which change color as a food or drug ages -- a product that could be applied to sensitive food such as fresh meat and fish.

“That would be of interest to us, because that is low-cost; it’s an ink you can put into a printer,” he said. He wouldn’t say how far the research and development had progressed for this process. “It’s one of the things our chemists look at.”

Research and development will focus on improving the company’s current technology, he said, as well as improving power efficiency and being led by new rules in food and drugs labeling, he said.

The priority is to ensure “the products we’ve brought in over the last 10 years are leaders in their field,” he said.

NewMarket Impressions is controlled by Los Angeles-based Yucaipa Cos.

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