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RFID Systems Integrator ASURYS Shutters

ASURYS, the RFID division of paper and packaging giant International Paper, shuttered in recent weeks after being shopped around the industry for purchase, according to sources. The company employed about 25 people which International Paper will attempt to place in other positions at the company.
Jun 27, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

June 27, 2006—ASURYS, the RFID division of paper and packaging giant International Paper, shuttered in recent weeks after being shopped around the industry for purchase, according to sources. The company employed about 25 people which International Paper will attempt to place in other positions at the company.

The decision to close ASURYS, according to International Paper's manager of media relations Amy Sawyer, was that its capabilities were better allocated supplementing the company's primary packaging business than they were building an entirely new RFID firm. Sawyer said the company meant to "turn the capabilities inward ... to enhance service to existing packaging customers." She emphasized that the unit was in fact quite small. "The value it can have as a very small entity," she explained, "could have a bigger impact used [internally] versus as a niche business." When asked if the decision also related to the wider transformation initiative within International Paper to refocus the entire company on core competencies, Sawyer said no. "The decision related to ASURYS is aligned to that, but I wouldn't say because of that."

The ASURYS team was apparently quite respected in the industry, and Sawyer emphasized International Paper's eagerness to "absorb as many as possible." Some have already moved on and are now working for other RFID vendors.

In addition to its employees, ASURYS had an RFID testing center in Memphis, Tennessee, and an undisclosed number of clients, for whom the company has almost completed its work. "We are in the process of meeting our commitments to our existing customers, and that's pretty much on track to be wrapped up by the end of this month," said Sawyer.

A number of industry sources told RFID Update that ASURYS had initially sought a buyer, offering a price tag in the $20 million range. Sawyer could not comment on that.

The ASURYS brand originated last November as the new name for International Paper's Smart Packaging business. The title "smart packaging" was too tightly associated with RFID, indirectly excluding non-RFID supply chain services that the business provided. "Putting tags on boxes is an important part of what we focus on," said ASURYS general manager Alan Clark at the time, "but we also specialize in helping clients maximize security, visibility and efficiency in their supply chains."
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