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SML Group Buys CGP Labels

The Hong Kong-based company plans to use its acquisition of the U.S. label maker to expand its RFID tag production and R&D capabilities, as well as its global service bureaus.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 31, 2012Global apparel branding and packaging company SML Group has acquired U.S. label manufacturer CGP Labels, enabling the Hong Kong-based firm to meet the growing need for item-level RFID tags in the retail sector. The company aims to broaden its capacity for RFID research and development, by means of CGP's own R&D laboratory in Clayton, N.C., as well as increase its label production worldwide. The sale was completed on Thursday, July 19.

SML Group provides paper and woven labels for item-level retail applications, such as hangtags, pressure-sensitive labels, booklet labels and coupons, with approximately 90 percent of that business is unrelated to radio frequency identification. However, the RFID business is growing, the company reports. In 2012, the firm expects to sell 200 million RFID tags, while that number is anticipated to double in 2013. SML Group provides ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) Gen 2 EPC labels for retail apparel applications, and can also supply high-frequency (HF) labels. In addition, it has released an end-to-end RFID solution, known as ViziT, comprising labels, printing, encoding, reader infrastructure, installation and software. The company is currently developing a cloud-based server for managing data related to the ViziT system, according to Philip Calderbank, SML Group's global RFID VP.

SML Group's Philip Calderbank
"We've been on an expansion path with RFID since early 2011," Calderbank says. The company's largest customer base, consisting of apparel manufacturers, is located in Asia.

CGP Labels' own product sales are divided about evenly between RFID and non-RFID labels, says J. Thomas Dew, CGP's president, with most of the customer base (about 75 percent) located within the United States, and the rest elsewhere throughout the Americas and in Europe. SML Group, on the other hand, has a global market with an Asian focus, serving goods manufacturers located within that region, as well as offering a global network of service bureaus for tag-commissioning services.

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