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Press manufacturer KBA is to move into solar energy and water treatment technology as it seeks to diversify, rather than “enter a merger in a shrinking market”.

Speaking as the company an­­­nounced better than ex­­pected third-quarter results, chief executive Helge Hansen said that, while print manufacturing would remain core, the company would explore acquisitions in “new business lines with good prospects for growth and earnings”.

He identified these sectors as packaging, digital print, water treatment and solar thermal technology.

“We believe that expanding our business scope is a wiser course of action than entering a merger in a shrinking market,” he said in an apparent reference to Heidelberg’s merger talks with Manroland, which collapsed last month.

Press manufacturers have been severely impacted by the credit crunch.