16 September 2017

Ethiopia: Giant Printer to Advance Security Printing

Berhanena Selam Printing Enterprise, the state-owned printing press, is to launch an advanced security printing with an investment of 200 million Br. For the procurement of the printing machines, it announced a tender for the second time after its failed attempt two years ago.

The company floated the tender on September 6, 2017, inviting companies for the supply of a set of security printing machines. The security printing machines are for printing passports, identity cards (ID), cards for smart electric meters, Cash Payment Order (CPO), scratch cards for lotteries and phone airtime and different types of certificates.

Before announcing the tender, the company was working on procuring a machine that only printed scratch cards for Ethio telecom, but now it has diverted to printing all kinds of advanced security prints, according to Daniel Haile, public relations and communications director at the Enterprise.

"The decision was reversed after the company's capital was raised two months ago," said Daniel.

A regulation that was approved by the Council of Ministers (CoM) 45 days ago, raised the paid up and authorised capital of the company to 1.5 billion Br and 382 million Br, respectively.

Established in 1914 as the first modern printing press in Ethiopia during Emperor Haile Selassie I's regime, Berhanena Selam formerly had 8.3 million Br paid-up capital.

Three years ago, in December 2014, the company floated a tender for the procurement of pre-press, press and post-press machinery and equipment. The tender was announced following a year long feasibility study conducted by Cross Group, a UK security printing consultancy firm.

The cancellation came after the restructuring of the former Privatization & Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPESA) to the current Ministry of Public Enterprises (MoPE).

"After the restructuring, the new executive demanded the revision of the initial plan," said Daniel.

For the initial tender, until September 15, 2017, a total of 15 local and international companies have bought the bidding document for the supply of the machines.

The new machinery will be installed on the new building of the Company on two floors, where currently other security printings are taking place. The Enterprise has scheduled to launch advanced security printing from the beginning of the next year.

Currently, the company is dealing with the state-owned telecom service provider, Ethio telecom, to print and supply scratch vouchers for mobile phones. Presently, Ethio telecom is ordering the voucher from a Kenyan Company, named Elliman. It imports 15 million scratch cards monthly on average. Recently, the country was hit by dearth of this scratch cards.

Abdurahim Ahmed, corporate communications director of the Ethio Telecom, confirms that the company is dealing with Berhanena Selam for the printing of scratch cards but refrains from commenting on the detail, asserting that they are still under negotiation.

For experience sharing on scratch card printing, a group of experts from the company led by the CEO, Teka Abade, went to Kenya, according to Daniel.

Last year, the company finalized the expansion project for cheque personalisation print investing 19 million Br. The machines were imported from Kenya, and the supplier trained the staff of the company for three years. Currently, it is waiting for orders from the banks.

A day ahead of the tender announcement, Berhanena Selam jointly with Muhlbauer Group, a global company established in 1981 that supplies products such as smart cards and e-passports held a special workshop and technical presentation for 16 selected companies, institutions and bank representatives.

Ethio telecom, National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), Ethiopian Bankers Association (EBA), National Lottery Administration, National Intelligence & Security Service, National Immigration & Nationality Affairs Main Department and Vital Events Registration Agency (VERA) were among the attendees of the workshop.

"As the selected institutions are users of security printing, we presented about setting up a factory for security printing," said Dawit Nehemiah, marketing research director of SS Communications, local partner of Muhlbauer, which also purchased the bidding document for the supply of the machines.

The company will print all security prints except cash, as the National Bank of Ethiopia is the only and fully authorised body for the order of currency note print and circulating the printed cash.

During the recently ended fiscal year, the Enterprise reported a gross profit of 155 million Br from the 597 million Br revenue, printing 173,888sqm of print. Last year's profit has a difference of nine million Birr from the preceding year. For the current fiscal year, it has targeted to earn a gross profit of 184 million Br.

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