Oct 02, 2014 Newsdesk Features, Latest News
The acquisition of printer supplier FutureLogic Inc by JCM American Corp, otherwise know as JCM Global, has opened new markets for both companies. That is the opinion of Tom Nieman (pictured), JCM’s global vice president of marketing.
“When we now talk about JCM’s footprint, we also include the FutureLogic printers,” Mr Nieman told GGRAsia. That allows, for instance, JCM to claim a presence in the Singapore market, from where it was absent before.
FutureLogic, based in the U.S., provides printers for a wide range of applications, including the creation of player vouchers for casinos and other gaming operators. JCM, part of Tokyo-listed Japan Cash Machine Co Ltd, designs and manufactures currency validating equipment and cash registers, also serving the gaming industry.
FutureLogic had sales of US$47.2 million in 2013, up by 9.5 percent in year-on-year terms. The acquisition deal was worth US$70.6 million, excluding advisory fees. FutureLogic was previously owned by Nasdaq-listed private equity firm American Capital Ltd.
JCM is no newbie to the printer industry. For a period, the company produced its own printing devices. It also had a strategic partnership with TransAct Technologies Inc for some years.
In 2011, JCM entered into a business relationship with printer supplier Nanoptix Inc. The partnership helped Nanoptix to gain traction in the gaming market, rapidly growing its market share. JCM eventually acquired 49 percent of the firm in 2012.
From the three main printer suppliers to the gaming industry – Transact, FutureLogic and Nanoptix – “we now own one and half of the other,” Mr Nieman pointed out.
No decisions yet
He said JCM’s management has not yet decided whether to keep FutureLogic as a brand. The same is to say about retaining the company’s executive team. Those decisions will only be made after the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) 2014 trade show, which ends on Thursday in Las Vegas. The two companies still exhibited separately.
“The timing on this was lousy. We closed and everyone was focused on G2E,” Mr Nieman explained. “There was no time to sit down and start putting together the near and mid-term strategic plan.”
Gaming will however still feature high on those plans. “Obviously gaming is the biggest [business segment for both companies]. It is not the only one, but it is our biggest,” he said.
“Following G2E, the integration teams in both groups will sit down and some of those decisions will begin to be made… We know it is good brand name, it is a market leader.”
Mr Nieman pointed out there is little product overlap between both companies. Instead, they are very complementary, making integration easier.
JCM did not provide yet any estimate on the cost savings that may accrue from the acquisition.
The company is meanwhile already in negotiations with gaming operators in Macau to be a supplier to the new casino resorts opening in Cotai from 2015 onwards. “The FutureLogic acquisition gives us more opportunities in Macau – Cotai has lots of growth opportunities – but the same is true in almost any market,” Mr Nieman told us.
“We are aggressively pushing in the Philippines”, he added, as new casino resorts open in Manila’s Entertainment City. The company is also looking to increase its presence in Vietnam and South Korea.
Japan, for obvious reasons, is under JCM’s radar. “It is fortunate that our company is bilingual: we speak both Japanese and gaming,” said Mr Nieman. JCM’s parent is already a supplier to the country’s pachinko industry.
Japan is currently looking at a bill to legalise casino gambling. If it is passed, “it will be a monster market,” he added. But Mr Nieman expects it may take five to 10 years until the first casinos open in Japan.
The growth of gaming in Asia has led JCM to come up with products tailored for this market. The iV8 table game bill validator, developed for the high-volume table game marketplace, is one example.
“The iV8 was really designed for the Macau and Singapore-type markets, where gaming is dense and buy-ins are done with large quantities of notes,” Mr Nieman said. “Automation can have a dramatic positive effect.”
In Singapore and Macau, iV8 is already in back-of-house trials, he noted. JCM has moved to a live floor trial at The Star casino in Sydney.
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”[Macau casino] operators may want to remain prudent in not appearing to reward shareholders too early”
Head of Asia gaming and leisure research at JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific)