BigRep is on its way to becoming a publicly traded company on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. A manufacturer of large-format fused filament fabrication (FFF), BigRep has signed a deal with blank check company SMG Technology Acceleration SE (Xetra: 7GG) to become publicly traded on the German exchange as it plans to accelerate its growth path further.
Commenting on the latest move, BigRep Managing Director and CFO Reinhard Festag explained: “We operate within a very fragmented market offering significant potential for consolidation. By unifying under‐critical players with outstanding technologies, we aim to broaden our comprehensive solution offering and leverage economies of scale – to benefit our customers. As a fast-growing global player, we plan to form a European leader in AM technology via a buy-and-build approach, expanding our portfolio, market reach, and talents working at BigRep. The signing with SMG marks a significant next step on this journey.”
The BigRep advantage
BigRep has earned its reputation as a leader in the field of large-format, open AM solutions. Its cutting-edge technology helps companies transition rapidly from prototyping to production and bring products to market faster. The AM industry has witnessed robust growth due to global transformations such as the digitization of manufacturing, sustainability concerns, and supply chain risk mitigation. As a result, the global AM market has experienced double-digit growth, reaching approximately $18 billion in 2022.
CEO Sven Thate emphasizes the company’s commitment to embracing industry megatrends: “We expect the AM market to continue its dynamic growth for the foreseeable future, driven by the strong megatrends such as digitalization and decentralization of manufacturing.” He also highlights BigRep’s focus on providing comprehensive industrial AM solutions, including reliable hardware, productivity software, quality materials, and excellent customer support. BigRep’s specialization in FFF positions it as a key player serving industrial, automotive, and aerospace clients seeking a rapid return on investment (ROI) for both small and large, complex functional part production.
A Luxembourg special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), SMG Technology signed a non‐binding letter of intent (LoI) with BigRep in November 2023. The Lol includes an agreement to seek a PIPE investment (private investment in public equity). This type of financial arrangement allows private investors to participate in a publicly traded company’s equity. Moreover, these investments typically occur before the company goes public or as part of a merger or acquisition deal, providing additional capital to support the company’s growth and expansion.
In the proposed transaction, existing shareholders of BigRep would transfer 100% of the outstanding equity and equity equivalents of BigRep to SMG Technology in exchange for new shares in the company. Once listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the new company would have shareholders from BigRep, SMG Technology, and investors who participated in the PIPE. While there is no guarantee that a final binding agreement will be reached, both the SPAC firm and BigRep are still in negotiations over the final deal.
Strengthening market presence
This latest strategic move comes shortly after BigRep’s acquisition of HAGE3D in November 2023. Renowned for its high-temperature 3D printers and open AM platform, HAGE3D is expected to empower BigRep to offer a full spectrum of low-to-high-temperature solutions on a global platform. It also grants them access to a strong brand, an extensive reseller and support network, and a scalable premium contract manufacturer supply chain. BigRep is poised to push the boundaries of FFF technology and drive the success of its broad industrial customer base. Especially now that it has a global team exceeding 100 3D printing experts, five strategically located application centers worldwide, and an installed base of over 1,000 large-scale industrial FFF printers across various industrial sectors.
With the market dynamics described and BigRep’s progress towards intelligent, open AM solutions, the company anticipates a sustained growth trajectory. BigRep expects to drive this growth both organically and through strategic acquisitions, with the ultimate goal of creating a “European champion in AM technology,” proudly “Made in Europe.”
Good old days
This marks only the second time in 2023 that a 3D printing company has announced plans to go public. Not too long ago, 3D printing businesses began exploring the path to public trading. Between 2020 and 2022, mergers and acquisitions were on the rise, and investments poured in. What initially seemed like a promising period for many companies soon became a different scenario. Fast-forward to 2023, and most of these firms are undergoing restructuring, dealing with headcount reductions, increases in operating costs, and reporting deeper net losses.
Many analysts have noted that the SPAC deal bubble has gone the way of the dodo for now, so BigRep’s news comes as a surprise. The surge in SPAC deals in 2021 and the early part of 2022 raised questions about the trend’s longevity, the valuation of the companies involved, and SPAC-related regulations. Some analysts expressed concerns about the rush of companies going public through SPACs, suggesting this could result in overvaluation, increased competition for attractive targets, and potential regulatory changes surrounding transparency and investor protection.
Although another company, Sakuu, had also expressed plans to go public via a SPAC deal earlier this year, this has not happened yet. While not all SPAC deals go bad, and we’re not saying the latest BigRep deal will, there have been instances where SPAC deals did not meet the initial expectations or faced challenges.
For now, the latest BigRep agreement with SMG Technology Acceleration SE represents a pivotal moment in the company’s journey. As the brand continues to consolidate and expand its market presence, BigRep moves forward with its vision of becoming a European champion in AM technology and modern manufacturing.
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