Pelikan On The Brink Of Selling A Major Asset

Reporting out of Malaysia has been ratcheting up over the last four weeks and the news is big. Let’s get straight down to brass tacks. Pelikan International Corporation Berhad (PICB) is looking to sell a major asset. In a filing with Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd on May 23rd, Pelikan announced that it, “is currently in negotiations with prospective strategic buyers to dispose substantially all its assets and business interest.” In addition to the Pelikan brand, a number of acquisitions over the years has given PICB ownership or control of Geha, Herlitz, and Susy Card. Exactly which entities are on the table in these negotiations is unclear but speculation and the company’s own filings indicate that it could well be their entire European stationery division. Pelikan International has worked to steadily improve its profitability following an asset streamlining exercise in 2014. This exercise has included the disposal of loss-making businesses and non-core assets. You may recall Pelikan’s most recent divestment, the sale-leaseback of their logistics center back in July 2021 which netted the company a one-off gain of around $44 million which improved their balance sheet, enhanced shareholder value, and yielded a special dividend. Obviously, the sale of their European stationery division would be orders of magnitude larger than anything we’ve seen from the company recently. What all of this means for our beloved inks and fine writing instruments remains to be seen. If you’ll continue reading, I will endeavor to give some historical context and try to tease out just why we may be seeing such a move now.

Continue reading

News: M1000 Raden Red Infinity

There is something extra special about getting wind of not just one but two new fountain pens back-to-back. Late last night, I wrote about the M200 Pastel-Blue fountain pen due out in mid-June. was the first to bring news of the next Raden model to hit the streets as well, the M1000 Raden Red Infinity. The M1000 model line has had some heavy hitters in the Raden category over the last 10-15 years. These have included the Moonlight (2011), Sunlight (2013), Starlight (2014), Sunrise (2016), Green Ray (2020), and White Ray (2021). For these ultra-exclusive models, artists employ traditional Japanese techniques to embellish the cap and barrel of a standard M1000 with small pieces of shimmering abalone shell. Every piece is crafted by hand which accounts for the relatively few models made and their correspondingly high price tag. Each pen is signed by the artist and hand numbered using the Maki-e technique. Similar to recent past releases, this will once again be a limited edition run of just 400 pieces available worldwide. Pelikan’s product literature states that “The design pattern has no beginning and no end and stands for continuity which is a lucky design that implies long family happiness, prosperity, development, and professional success.” Availability is anticipated for some time in June 2023. Read on to learn all that we know of this new Raden model.

Continue reading

News: M200 Pastel-Blue Special Edition

I know that many of you have been anxiously waiting for the day to come when Pelikan announces the release of an M200 Rose Quartz Special Edition but I’m here to tell you that today is not that day. Looking back on historic trends, that announcement doesn’t usually come until August, and it has even been as late as October so you will have to be patient a while longer. That doesn’t mean you have to go away empty handed. Pelikan took to their social media channels today in order to announce the newest pen off the factory floor, the M200 Pastel-Blue Special Edition. If this newest addition to the Classic line is giving you that old familiar feeling, that might be because it bears a striking resemblance to the M200 Pastel-Green (2020) from three years ago as well as the M200 Gold-Marbled (2019). Sparingly used in the past on only a handful of models, Pelikan has really embraced white resin over the last decade. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least ten different models that have used that material in recent years, more than all of the prior decades combined. This new M200 is slated for a mid-June launch and retailers should be taking pre-orders anytime now. Read on to find out what you can expect from Pelikan’s newest fountain pen.

Continue reading

News: Pelikan Hubs 2023

The Pelikan Hubs events has grown to become one of the most anticipated events of the year within the fountain pen community and for good reason. It has served as an amazing platform for people of all persuasions to gather and share their love for fine writing instruments, inks, and paper. It sounds like a simple enough conceit but for many, this is one of the few opportunities at their disposal with which to share in that fellowship face to face. Pelikan describes a Hub as “A pivot, a focus of activity. For Pelikan fans, a Hub is a place where they can meet, exchange experiences, and network worldwide.” Despite its humble beginnings back in 2014, the event has grown exponentially larger with each passing year. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the Hubs going on a two-year hiatus but that didn’t stop last year’s resurgent gathering from going on to post even greater numbers than in years prior. Registrations were spread across at least 220 different Hubs locations scattered across 47 countries made up of 6,120 registered participants. Pelikan is back at it again with today’s announcement of the 2023 Hubs event, marking the eighth such gathering to be hosted. Their banner, unsurprisingly, features this year’s Edelstein Ink Of The Year, Rose Quartz. The company’s Edelstein inks were a prominent feature in the first seven Hubs events but was conspicuously absent last year. Will it make a triumphant return this year? Also, new for 2023, is a completely revamped registration process with a rather short window to get in on the fun. Read on to learn all of the known details for this year’s event and how you can register for your chance to participate.

Continue reading

Pelikan On The Move? – Local Politicians Propose Relocating Pelikan’s Factory

Pelikan's factory at Pelikanstraße 11, 31228 Peine, Germany

If you have been following the blog with any regularity, then you know that I have endeavored to keep you abreast of the publicly reported goings on at Pelikan’s factory. I think that it is important to be aware of those developments as they can give us an insight into Pelikan’s future in Germany which will almost certainly impact the fine writing instruments that we adore. For those not keeping tally, I’ll provide a brief recap. Despite being owned by a Malaysian firm, all of Pelikan’s fine writing instruments continue to be manufactured in Germany, just as they have been since the company started producing pens in 1929. From 1906 until 1973, the company’s administrative and production spaces were maintained in Hannover on the Podbielskistraße.  In 1973, it was determined that the facilities on the Podbielskistraße were inadequate and could no longer be expanded to meet the company’s needs. Production was then moved to Peine-Vöhrum, 24 miles east of Hannover, where it remains today.  The number of employed factory workers has varied over the years, but the current count is somewhere around 240. Moving the factory was a real growth moment for the company and they are now clearly on the verge of another. Nearly two years ago, protest erupted at the plant. The grievances aired by employees centered around delayed back pay, austere fiscal policies, and a lack of investment/modernization at the plant. The unrest certainly captured the attention of several elected officials representing that area of the country. Pelikan has since made good on their financial obligations and the turmoil has quieted. In an effort to improve the aging facilities, Pelikan recently sought to enter into an agreement with the US based Hillwood Group which would see them sell the land adjacent to their factory for the purpose of building a logistics center, a facility whose additional capacity could prove very useful for shoring up Pelikan’s own aging facilities. Those plans had the support of local government, and all seemed to be moving forward. Then, just last month, news broke that Pelikan was looking into the prospect of having a new factory built as part of a sale-leaseback arrangement with the Hillwood Group who would then also own the premises that the factory now occupies as well as the newly constructed production space that would be erected on site. Hillwood would then maintain a long term lease with Pelikan for use of the new facilities. That’s a lot, but now you’re all caught up. Oh, yeah, just one more thing. It now looks as if a proposal is on the table to relocate Pelikan’s manufacturing plant all together. Read on to learn more.

Continue reading

News: M800 Special Edition Green Demonstrator

Pelikan M800 Special Edition Green Demonstrator

One of the first special edition fountain pens from Pelikan in modern times was the M800 Transparent Green Collector’s Edition which came out in 1992. Clamor from customers in the United States resulted in the production of that pen, an unnumbered model, which was well received. It preceded their first ever limited edition, the M800 Blue Ocean, by just one year. In that run of 5000 pens, each piece was individually numbered. We were off to the races after that with Pelikan releasing a number of Special and Limited editions annually. That Transparent Green M800 has always been a looker. It was known to have been a favorite of Gerd-Rüdiger Lang, founder of Chronoswiss, so much so that it served as the inspiration behind 2002’s Styloscope. Fast forward to the present day and Pelikan brings us back to where it all started. News broke yesterday of the Souverän M800 Special Edition Green Demonstrator. Due out sometime in mid to late April, this model will hit shelves just in time for the spring foliage. Rather than a straight rehash of an old favorite, this new model actually features a re-design of Pelikan’s iconic trim, something that’s sure to generate a buzz. Read on to learn about all of the details surrounding this new M800.

Continue reading

Damenhalter: Pelikan’s Gendered Pens and Pencils

Vintage Pelikan Fountain Pen Advertisement

March is designated as Women’s History Month in the USA, the UK, and Australia, a month set aside to commemorate the contributions of women in history and society. In honor of that, I elected to take up the study of gendered fountain pens produced by Pelikan over the last century, specifically their fountain pens and pen modifications made especially for women. Gendered products, just as the name implies, are those items or services marketed specifically towards a particular sex. Goods such as these have been around for a long time, and many have a controversial history owing to the promotion of unhealthy and often false gender stereotypes. There are a multitude of products which fall into this category, many of which are quite laughable. The distinction between male and female targeted products frequently consists of nothing more than a pink color and some slightly altered packaging with the word “Lady” prominently displayed. Marketing departments pursue these gendered products in an effort to enhance their appeal, thereby broadening the pool of potential consumers. This pursuit frequently results in the distorted portrayal of women as weaker, more delicate, and in need of special care while at the same time promoting toxic masculinity. Many cultures still frown upon men enjoying anything of a pink persuasion because of the femininity associated with it. In addition to various shades of pink and pastel, items targeted towards women tend to be smaller in size to better fit the stereotype of the more diminutive female. Many of the historical boundaries surrounding gender roles in society are being tested and debated today, a debate that is well beyond the scope of this blog. What is on brand for this blog is just how Pelikan has fed into and perpetuated some of these societal constructs with their writing implements over their 94 years in the industry. Pelikan’s gendered writing instruments can be found as far back as the original model 100 from the 1930s but there have been more recent examples as well. Indeed, it’s hard to believe that such products have persisted well into the 21st century. Pelikan’s catalogs from the 1930s through the 1950s list products that could be altered for use by a woman, labeled as “Damenhalter” or “Für die Dame” but, make no mistake, this is not a Pelikan specific phenomenon. Other pen companies, both past and present, have done the same including Sheaffer, Soennecken, Parker, and Montblanc. Believe it or not, even the ubiquitous Bic Cristal has not been spared. Read on to learn about just a few select examples of products from Pelikan’s back catalog that have been geared towards women.

Continue reading

The Evolution of the IBIS: A Story Of Death And Resurrection

Pelikan IBIS Box

Last year, we took an in-depth look at the Rappen fountain pen, a lower tier offering from Pelikan that was available during the 1930s and 1940s, priced as a more affordable alternative to the model 100. That work concluded with a look at the so called Rappen-IBIS, an IBIS pen sold under the Rappen branding in order to avoid trademark infringements in certain export markets. Make no mistake about it, however, that model was far more IBIS at its heart than Rappen which begs the question; “What is a Pelikan IBIS? It was October 15, 1936, when the IBIS fountain pen was officially introduced to Germany, replacing the Rappen in that market. Perhaps it was with some deliberation that the IBIS moniker was chosen. In the hierarchy of biological classification, the order Pelecaniformes contains several medium to large waterbirds including the families Pelecanidae (pelicans) and Threskiornithidae (ibises) indicating a distant relation between the company’s namesake bird and the ibis. By the time of the IBIS’ introduction, Günther Wagner had been producing and selling fountain pens under the Günther Wagner/Pelikan brand for seven years. Whereas the Rappen originally employed a bulb filling method with a sac, the IBIS was equipped with a piston filling mechanism more in line with the company’s upmarket offerings. This effectively makes the IBIS a hybrid of sorts, combining the looks of the Rappen with the mechanics of the model 100. Despite being supplanted in Germany, the Rappen would continue to be sold in export markets until the end of World War II and would eventually be outfitted with that same piston filling mechanism towards to end of the product line’s run. Unlike the Rappen, the IBIS would be sold under the Günther Wagner/Pelikan brand, where it continued to fill the gap of a more affordable, entry level model when compared with the 100 and 100N. In their literature to dealers, Pelikan would explain that “The IBIS was created… so that the specialist trade could also offer a solidly made transparent piston filler from Günther Wagner in the medium price range.” Price lists from the 1930s described the IBIS as a “fountain pen of good quality, moderate in price and reliable in use.” World War II had a significant impact on the IBIS’ production, but it would survive the tumult and ultimately go on to enjoy an eleven year production run. Today, many of the surviving pens, especially those from the post-war era, can be had relatively cheaply on the secondary market which makes this a model well worth learning about. Read on to learn how the IBIS fell to the pressures of war only to later be resurrected.

Continue reading