For ink manufacturers, continued volatility in crude oil prices and supply concerns remain serious challenges.
In terms of raw material pricing, the past few years have been brutal for the printing ink industry. Led by the dramatic surge of crude oil prices, a critical ingredient for key feedstocks as well as waxes, resins and other ingredients, raw material costs for inks skyrocketed. Pent-up prices also played a role, as companies long stymied by pressure from ink manufacturers to keep costs down finally pushed through increases.
The elimination of the VAT as well as some shutdowns in the Chinese pigment industry compouned the ink industry’s supply problems. In adddition, some key raw materials – notably naphthenic oil and acrylic acid – are in demand from much larger industries, such as tires and diapers, respectively.
The global recession has led to a decrease in demand for products, leaving inventories of higher-priced materials in its wake. Consolidation is also playing a part in pricing, as some key manufacturers have left the ink field.
Today, crude oil prices have declined sharply, although no one really knows what to expect next. This leaves ink companies with the challenge of formulating their own prices and planning for an uncertain future.
Raw Material Pricing
When discussing overall raw material costs, one has to start at crude oil prices. In July 2008, the price of crude oil topped out at $145 per barrel. Today, prices have fallen below $75 per barrel.
The questions are how has the decline in the cost of crude oil impacted raw material pricing, and whether ink manufacturers seeing any retreat in prices from their suppliers.
“Although crude oil prices have lowered significantly since last year’s peak in July, the pace of reductions in our raw materials has been significantly impacted by the high levels of older and more costly feedstocks and raw materials in our suppliers’ systems,” said Ed Pruitt, chief procurement officer, Sun Chemical. “The rapid decline in demand starting in the fourth quarter of last year eclipsed many of our pigments, intermediates and resin suppliers’ abilities to respond. True year over year improvement in average prices will not be achieved until all of these inventory effects completely work their way through the supply chain.”
Mr. Pruitt noted that Sun Chemical continues to work on controlling its own costs closely with its supply chain partners, to improve internal operations and to develop new value-oriented products that can help customers grow their business.
“We will continue to invest in those areas that provide our customers with innovative products and services, allowing them to be more competitive and present the best value propositions in the market,” Mr. Pruitt noted.
“Pricing for most of our raw materials peaked around September/October of 2008, about two to three months after the price of crude oil peaked,” said Ben Price, director of purchasing at Wikoff Color. “There was an even longer lag between the subsequent decline in crude oil prices and our raw material price relief. The lag was reportedly a result of demand coming to a screeching halt, leaving many of our suppliers with excessive amounts of higher cost inventory on their floors.”
Mr. Price added that Wikoff Color has recently experienced price relief across a wide range of raw materials, and expects that relief to continue in many areas.
“During the first three quarters of 2008, we experienced dramatic price increases in raw materials,” said George Sickinger, president and CEO of Color Resolutions International (CRI). “However, in September, with the price of oil dropping, prices stabilized. In November we set up meetings with all current and new vendors to meet with us to discuss how to reduce our cost of materials and offer savings opportunities.”
“Until the first quarter of 2009, raw material prices had been declining,” said Yu Adachi, corporate communications for Toyo Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd. “Recently, however, prices have started to rise again gradually. As part of Toyo’s SCM program, we’ve consistently evaluated suppliers not only from a pricing standpoint, but also by the quality of materials offered.”
Volatility in The Marketplace
As a result of unstable oil prices, raw material costs have been volatile. For example, Mr. Adachi pointed to various solvents and olefin compounds as being most volatile in terms of pricing and supply.
“Despite a recent respite in the pace of volatility, there are a number of areas of concern,” Mr. Pruitt said. “First, oil industry experts would say that the crude market will continue to be highly volatile, with an expectation that prices will eventually return to the very high levels of recent years due to the inability of new production to offset the gradual depletion of existing supply and the growth of demand in developing nations. Secondly, the petrochemicals market has risen sharply recently due to actions taken by producers to shut down high cost production. Third, there are individual products today in a variety of categories including pigments, base chemicals and resins that are still at very high levels and are not expected to decline to 2008 average price levels.
“As a general rule, raw materials suppliers are actively shuttering plants, rationalizing product lines and taking the steps that companies must take in extraordinarily difficult times, but steps that could lead to interruptions or tightening supply despite the overall weakness of the global markets,” Mr. Pruitt added.
“Almost all raw materials for printing inks have been volatile over the last 12 months, but in general, pricing of raw materials that are most closely linked to crude oil have been the most volatile,” Mr. Price noted. “Examples include many of our solvents, energy cure raw materials and carbon black. “On the other hand, we have also seen significant price swings in some raw material areas that are not directly linked to crude oil,” Mr. Price added. “In most of these situations, the pricing volatility we have experienced is more the result of changes in supply and demand than changes in feedstock costs.”
Mr. Sickinger noted that for the most part, pricing has stabilized.
“We have experienced little volatility in pricing and supply this year,” he said. “We are seeing price increases in plastic, polypropylene, butadiene and some acrylic resin products.”
Supply has also been an issue, as some firms are closing plants or shutting down altogether in order to better weather the economic storm.
“The biggest concern we have during this economic downturn is that some suppliers will not survive and others may choose to exit unprofitable businesses that have an impact on ink makers,” Mr. Price said. “In either scenario, the result is fewer choices for the buyer and upward pressure on pricing. Another concern is that if demand picks up sooner than expected, some suppliers will not be prepared to meet it. In an effort to cut costs, many of our suppliers have had to lay off employees and close production facilities. If we experience a sudden spike in demand in markets these suppliers serve, raw material shortages are likely.”
“To date, we have not had any major issues with supply,” said John Edelbrock, vice president of operations for CRI. “Improved forecasting has become a key component to supply. We are seeing suppliers reducing inventories and some asking for more lead time.”
“Our supply concerns are largely focused on three areas of risk,” Mr. Pruitt said. “The first area is the financial health of some of our supply base, whose operations have seen dramatic reductions in both demand and profitability. The second area is actions by upstream producers of feedstocks to temporarily or permanently close operations may have the unintended consequence of creating a shortage in downstream intermediates, resins or functional chemicals. Finally, reductions in inventories and hours of operations by our suppliers in response to the economic crisis may leave the supply chain too taut to respond to a favorable upturn in demand.”
According to Mr. Pruitt, Sun Chemical’s response to these risks is to tap its strong sources of market intelligence and to work closely with supplier partners to “fully understand the risks in our supply chain and to develop the appropriate contingencies and actions to assure supply continuity.”
Consolidation Among Suppliers
Consolidation has changed the face of the business world, and the ink industry suply chain is no exception. In the past 12 months, major acquisitions have occurred, most notably Dow Chemical acquiring Rohm & Haas and BASF taking over Ciba. In the case of Rohm & Haas, the company divested its graphic arts resin business to Hydrite Chemical.
“Supplier consolidation has not had a significant effect on our raw material supply,” Mr. Price said. “What has been more significant is suppliers electing to exit certain markets. This is particularly noticeable in the resin area where Rohm & Haas, Dow and Hexion have all discontinued the production of some product lines.”
“One major resin manufacturer has left the market and sold the rights to manufacture the majority of their resin products,” Mr. Edelbrock said. “We have worked through those changes. Another resin manufacturer is adding capacity, which will offer more supply stability.”
“Due to consolidation and production optimization among suppliers, it has become increasingly more difficult for manufacturers to buy materials in small lots or customized,” Mr. Adachi reported. “At Toyo, we’ve had to standardize or decrease the number of raw materials used in our products, leveraging higher volumes to reduce prices. We’ve also worked to find new supply sources.”
Expectations for The Coming Year
The important question, then, is what is in store of the next year. The answer is that no one really knows, as oil prices and further consolidation may inpact markets further.
“There are many indications that the economy is starting to improve, but most agree that this will be a slow process,” Mr. Price said. “There may be suppliers who attempt to increase prices, but unless demand in our industry picks up, prices will remain relatively stable or decrease further in most raw material areas. Of course, this could all change if we see another drastic increase in crude oil pricing. It would not be surprising to see a reduction in suppliers resulting from consolidation, exiting markets or going out of business.”
“We expect raw material prices to continue to rise over the next year,” Mr. Adachi said. “Toyo will undertake further initiatives to strengthen our supply chain.”
“We have seen material prices decrease an average of 6 percent the first two quarters of 2009,” Mr. Sickinger said. “Economic activity in the manufacturing sector failed to grow in June for the 17th consecutive month. Aggressive inventory reduction continues and indications are that we are near the end of de-stocking. I believe real demand has reappeared according to an increase in July customer orders. I would expect raw material prices to stay relatively flat with some price increases due to suspected oil increases later in 2009.”
“Sun Chemical expects to continue seeing a gradual reversal of many of the cost impacts from 2008,” Mr. Pruitt said. “First, we’ll see cost reductions in the most directly oil sensitive raw materials followed by the gradual unwinding of prices for raw materials further down the value chain. High inventory levels and long supply chains also contribute to the pace of change.”
Kyocera Corporation has announced that it has developed the world’s fastest inkjet printhead.
Each nozzle in the new KJ4 Series printhead ejects ink at up to 60,000 dots per second (at 60kHz drive frequency); with 2,656 nozzles per head, the device is capable of printing approximately 150 million dots per second.
Kyocera’s previous inkjet printhead offered the world’s fastest print speed when it was introduced in 2008 — 150 meters per minute at 600×600dpi resolution, using a drive frequency of 30kHz. The newly developed printhead sets new records for high resolution, full-colour inkjet printing, offering the world’s fastest print speeds in any of three resolutions: 600×360dpi (330m/min. at 40kHz), 600×600dpi (200m/min at 40kHz), and 1200×1200dpi (150m/min at 60kHz).
The new technology enabling this development was achieved by enhancing the drive frequency with Kyocera’s elemental technology; making the interior ink channels more compact, optimising the nozzle configuration, and improving the water-repellent coating on the printhead nozzle surface to prevent clogging, thus ejecting the ink more accurately.
In addition to speed, it provides the high resolution required in the commercial printing market, with a 50 percent improvement in ink-drop placement accuracy over Kyocera’s previous model. And like the original, the new printhead maintains the world’s broadest single-unit print width, at 4.25 inches — enabling convenient printhead arrangement. Collectively, these features reflect Kyocera’s commitment to lead the digital on-demand market with continuous technological advancement.
The top international ink manufacturers faced major challenges during the last year, as raw material prices rose while the global recession impacted demand for printing.
DIC/Sun Chemical $5.91B Flint Group$3.38B Toyo Ink $1.36B Siegwerk Group$1.16B Sakata INX $1.14B Huber Group $972M Tokyo Printing Ink $562M Inctec Inc. $444M SICPA$400M Fujifilm Sericol International $350M T&K Toka $297M Dainichiseika Color $200M Wikoff Color$150M Royal Dutch Van Son$145M Epple Druckfarben$143M Sanchez SA de CV$134M
DIC Corporation (Including Sun Chemical Corporation) 7-20 Nihonbashi 3-chome Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan 103-8233 Phone: +81 3-3272-4511 Fax: +81 3-3278-8558 Internet: DIC: www.dic.co.jp; Sun Chemical: www.sunchemical.com Sales: DIC: $5.91 billion (574.6 billion yen) in graphic arts, including Sun Chemical, which is approaching $4 billion in sales. Total sales: $9.59 billion (932,334 billion yen).
Major Products: Broad product portfolio with capabilities in web heatset and sheetfed offset; publication and packaging gravure; news ink and publication coldset; flexographic packaging inks; corrugated packaging inks; energy curable inks and coatings; screen inks, toner, inkjet materials, adhesives for packaging, overprint varnishes, specialty coatings, effect inks, security inks and coatings, printing consumables and organic pigments for inks, plastics, paints, coatings and cosmetics.
Key Personnel: Koji Oe, chairman; Kazuo Sugie, president and CEO;Toshihiro Sugai, managing executive officer and general manager, Osaka district and Osaka branch; Yasufumi Miyazaki, managing executive officer and chairman, DIC (China) Co., Ltd. and DIC (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.; Yoshihisa Kawamura, managing executive officer and president, graphic arts business operation; Shizuhiko Abe, managing executive officer, CSR department, internal auditing department; Kazuya Shimoizumi, managing executive officer and president, high performance and applied products business operation; Kaiji Yamaki, managing executive officer and president, industrial materials business operation; Kanji Oki, managing executive officer and vice president, graphic arts business operation and office head for the new ink company establishment.
Number of Employees: 23,613 worldwide.
Comments: DIC Corporation suffered a difficult year in fiscal year 2008, which ended March 31, 2009. Sales were 932.3 billion yen, down 13.5 percent from 2007. Margins suffered as well, as operating income declined more than 47 percent.
According to DIC Corporation’s annual report, “In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009, the DIC Group continued to operate in a harsh environment. The first half of the period was dominated by persistently high prices for crude oil and naphtha, which drove up raw materials-related costs. In the second half, signs of a global recession became increasingly evident as the impact of the financial crisis that originated in the U.S. spread to the real economy, prompting a steep decline in demand in key customer industries.”
Graphic arts, one of DIC’s core businesses, suffered as well. Sales of graphic arts materials, including Sun Chemical’s sales, declined 11.1 percent from the previous year.
In the domestic graphic arts market, DIC’s sales declined 3.4 percent to 108.2 billion yen.
On the positive side, gravure inks for flexible packaging, particularly beverage containers and food packaging, were strong, but sales of offset inks were down, reflecting weak sales for publishing and advertising leaflets, among others. Sales of news inks were affected by shrinking print runs and page counts for newspapers.
Operating income dipped sharply by 78.3 percent, owing to sales results, as well as to the fact that sales price revisions implemented in the first half in response to rising raw materials prices fell short, primarily for offset and news inks.
Kazuo Sugie Net sales for graphic arts materials in North America and Europe fell to $4.25 billion, a decline of 13.5 percent. In North America and Europe, sales of packaging inks fell, reflecting the impact of recessionary conditions, while sales of news inks and publication inks declined, a result of shrinking print runs for newspapers and magazines. In Central and South America, full-term sales of most products were up, although sales of inks for publishing slowed in the second half.
The best news for DIC came in Asia and Oceania, where net sales were 69 billion yen, a decline of3.1 percent. In India, sales were particularly strong, most notably for news and gravure inks. In the People’s Republic of China (PRC), sales of offset and gravure inks to exporters slowed in the second half of the period, while in Oceania, sales of news inks struggled in the second half. Hampered largely by the failure of efforts to revise sales prices to counter rising raw materials prices, notably in the PRC and Oceania, operating income declined by more than 31 percent.
Major Products: Cold and heatset web offset, sheetfed offset, flexographic, gravure and UV/EB inks; coatings for publication, news, package and commercial applications. A wide range of inks for narrow web tag and label applications. Photopolymer plates and sleeve systems for flexographic applications; highly engineered printing blankets and sleeves for offset applications, press room chemicals and supplies. Dry, flushed and press cake pigments, chips and resins for ink and other applications, aqueous dispersions, hyperdispersants and additives for the colorant market.
Key Personnel: Charles Knott, chairman and CEO; Michael J. Bissell, executive VP and CFO; Dr. Dirk Aulbert, president, Packaging and Narrow Web; Dermot Healy, president, Print Media Europe; William B. Miller, president, Print Media Americas; Brent Stephan, president, Print Media Asia Pacific; Dr. Thomas Telser, president, Flint Group Flexographic Products; Craig Foster, president, Flint Group Pigments; Jan Paul van der Velde, senior VP, procurement.
Number of Employees: Approximately 7,200 worldwide.
Comments: For the ink industry as a whole, 2008 was a difficult year, and Flint Group proved to be no exception, although its sales did increase and profits held steady.
“2008 was a challenging year for everybody involved in the industry,” said Charles Knott, CEO, Flint Group. “Flint Group performed well, increasing net sales compared to the prior year.Profits remained at similar levels to 2007 due to robust cost controls offsetting an inability to fully recover raw material cost increases.”
“The printing industry was challenged even before the economy started to weaken. Print demand is down across the board, which hurts everyone in the supply chain,” added Bill Miller, president, Print Media North America. “Even as a larger company, Flint Group has remained nimble, which helps us address such challenges. We are focusing on selective growth opportunities, technology developments and delivering real value to our customers by producing high quality products and providing expert service to our customers.”
Flint Group has placed significant emphasis on leveraging the capabilities within the organization in order to create added value for its customers. Taking further costs out of our processes as well as working together with customers in order to help them become more cost efficient has been critical.
“During the first quarter of 2008, Flint Group took the decision to professionalize the procurement function through improving capabilities, andmoving it from a regional to a global organization to enable us to better leverage our purchasing power to secure supply and achieve lowest possible cost,” said Jan Paul van der Velde, senior vice president procurement. “As a result of this, we were able to mitigate part of the huge increases witnessed in 2008, due to crude oil related pressure driven by challenges around pigments and pigment intermediates and other key raw material drivers.
“While the crude oil price, as one of the many cost drivers, has relaxed significantly in the latter part of 2008, we see that a number of crude derivatives have been resilient in their pricing,” Mr. van der Velde continued. “The key challenge for the ink industry will be to be able to secure their materials going forward. We expect raw material prices to remain extremely volatile in 2009, and we therefore believe that by managing purchasing activities well we can dampen the effect of sudden changes for our customers.”
“We remain committed to improving our manufacturing processes while increasing the cost efficiency of our ink formulations through material sourcing and re-formulation,” explained Mr. Knott. “Over the recent months we established well-defined, short communication lines between our purchasing organization and the technical teams, ensuring that we can quickly pick up opportunities in the raw material markets without compromising quality, consistency or performance of our products.”
Flint Group continues to strengthen its market position, delivering innovative market-leading solutions to drive growth and meet customer expectations. The recent move to align the organization closer to the markets Flint Group customers operate in has provided an even greater customer orientated focus, simplifying the way the company does business. Single point of contact ensures each customer now has access to the entire Flint Group extensive product portfolio, supported with in-depth technical support.
Flint Group has continued to actively drive its capital investment projects in 2008. Investment around the globe ensures maximum operational efficiency and supports its guiding principle of continuous improvement.
First quarter 2008 witnessed completion of a €10 million investment project in its publication inks production facility at s’Gravenzande in The Netherlands. This investment increased capacity and also improved the stability and flexibility of Flint Group’s manufacturing processes.
Charles Knott Flint Group has also continued to stay true to its strategy of selective industry consolidation, announcing three acquisitions in 2008, including the packaging inks business from Siegwerk in Australia and New Zealand.
In addition to this, Flint Group also purchased HDP, the UK-based pressroom chemical manufacturer, and Russell Webb, the specialist anti-set-off powder manufacturer, also based in the UK. These additions have broadened the Flint Group portfolio and increased its regional footprint.
“The recent acquisitions fall in line with our strategy to participate in industry consolidation where it makes economic sense or to add businesses where we can selectively strengthen our product range or regional coverage,” said Mr. Knott.
In March 2008, Flint Group established the Flexographic Products Division by integrating its Printing Plates Division with the rotec sleeve business, which the group purchased via the Day International acquisition in 2007.
“The intention was to improve our service to the customer and combine the specific know-how in the field of flexographic plates and sleeves to foster innovation,” explained Mario Busshoff, vice president, marketing management, Flexographic Products Division. “The decision to merge both businesses has been seen within the industry as a positive step – both businesses have historically operated within the packaging market with the same customer base, both had placed particular emphasis on the growing flexographic segment and the integration has on the whole been viewed by customers as a natural progression in order to develop the business and improve service.”
Drupa 08 provided a platform for the Print Media Divisions to showcase some new and innovative products to the market. The new Novavit F 950 PLUS BIO and Novavit F 550 PLUS European sheetfed ink ranges attracted a lot of attention at the show for its improved misting properties at high printing speeds and excellent ink/water balance.
Novavit F918 Supreme BIO inks were also a highlight, in particular for their special formulation allowing alcohol-free printing on high-speed, multi-unit sheetfed presses and specifically designed for customers who require a high quality, stable ink that is required to meet ISO 12647-2 standards every time. A further highlight from drupa was the launch of the European sheetfed Inuline ink/varnish system.
In personnel news, Howard Poulson announced his intention to retire from his role as non-executive chairman effective March 31, 2009. He will continue to serve the board as a non-executive director and advisor. Mr. Paulson has guided the group since the formation of XSYS in 2004, through the acquisition of Flint Ink in 2005, andDay International in 2007.
Mr. Knott will succeed Mr. Poulson as chairman of the Flint Group in addition to his role as chief executive of the Group.
Jim Mahony, president Asia-Pacific, also announced his intention to retire at the end of June 2009 after 40 years in the industry. Mr. Mahoney has played a crucial role in developing Flint Group’s strategy to focus on becoming the leading supplier to both the printing and packaging industry. In particular, he successfully shaped Flint Group’s businesses in China, India, ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand to focus on their specific markets at the same time as leveraging the total capability of Flint Group.
Brent Stephen will now assume responsibility for the Print Media business in Asia Pacific, while George Lyle, is appointed vice president, Packaging and Narrow Web Asia, as part of the Global Packaging and Narrow Web leadership team.
A continued drive and focus on product innovation has again provided positive results with a number of new products being developed and launched by Flint Group in 2008.
The new generation ink system Sterling II Flexo has proven to provide high end use lamination performance, comparable to other more expensive chemistries. This nitro urethane system has also become popular for its sharp printing and on-press stability, even being selected over other flexo process printing sets when its end use performance properties are not necessarily required. Latest modifications have proven to also print very well on high-speed packaging gravure presses.
In addition, Flint Group has successfully introduced a new “universal” packaging ink series – PluriPrint NDT, which has been launched with great interest from customers in the UK. The PluriPrint NDT range helps converters to reduce press down time, as changes of the ink system are not needed, and reduces waste.
To help customers as well as the brand owners in diversifying and improving their market positions, Flint Group has introduced new and improved lacquers that give plastic films either a paper-like appearance and touch (tactile varnish) or a soft-feel.
In order to better service its customers and to improve the value proposition, Flint Group recently realigned its product line oriented structures to move to market and customer segment oriented organizational units forming the business units Print Media North America, Print Media Europe as well as its global Packaging and Narrow Web division.
Commenting on the new strategic changes to the organization, Mr. Knott said, “We want to make doing business with us easier and more efficient for our customers.” Mr. Miller has been appointed as president Flint Group Print Media North America while Dermot Healy, vice president Day International Europe has been positioned as president Print Media Europe. Dr. Dirk Aulbert will assume global responsibility as president Flint Group Packaging and Narrow Web.
In Asia Pacific, Flint Group will also transition over time from a country-based structure to a divisional organization. As a first step, Mr. Stephen, in addition to his primary responsibility as managing director Australia/ New Zealand, will lead the Print Media business as president for Print Media, Asia Pacific.
Major Products: Printing inks, newspaper inks, UV-curing inks, gravure inks, graphic arts supplies, graphic arts equipment, can coating finishes, resins, adhesives, waxes, laminating adhesives, coating and painting materials, pigments, processed pigments, plastic colorants, media materials, natural products.
Comments: For Toyo Ink Group, fiscal year 2009, which ended March 31, 2009, was challenging, as sales and profits suffered due to the global recession and its effects.
“In the operating environment surrounding the Toyo Ink Group, the domestic printing market continued to struggle, while demand in markets that were formerly steady – such as LCD and other consumer electronics, electronics and automobiles – plunged,” said Yu Adachi, corporate communications, Toyo Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd. “Profits also came under pressure with the appreciation of the yen and soaring raw materials prices.
In response to the sagging economy, Toyo Ink Group adopted initiatives to improve cash flow and strengthen management with further cost reductions involving its printing inks business.
“To strengthen management and cut costs of printing ink business, we have reorganized sales offices and refined our product lineup, made adjustments in production and work sharing in manufacturing facilities and optimized job allotment beyond all facilities,” Mr. Adachi added. “To improve cash flow, we reviewed our capital investment plans and optimized inventory management, reduced procurement and total fixed costs by streamlining operations and reinforced credit exposure management. These efforts, however, could not offset unprecedented sluggishness in demand, and sales and profits both declined on a year-on-year basis.”
With an eye toward facilitating future growth, Toyo Ink Group introduced a system of international operations headquarters to bolster its overseas businesses. Mr. Adachi noted that Toyo Ink set up four area divisions: China/ East Asia, Asia/ Oceania, Europe, and the Americas.
Kunio Sakuma With a pair of recent manufacturing expansions in India and the U.S., Toyo Ink is poised for growth in new markets worldwide. In May, TechNova Toyo Ink Ltd., a joint venture between Toyo Ink Manufacturing Co. and Technova Imaging Systems, began operations in India. The plant is Toyo Ink’s first ink manufacturing venture in the country. In October, Toyo Ink Manufacturing America opened a new polymers and packaging inks manufacturing plant in Texas.
“The Texas plant is part of Toyo Ink’s strategy to better serve our U.S. and global customer base and expand our presence in target growth markets such as industrial adhesives and coatings and flexible packaging,” Mr. Adachi noted.
In 2008, Francolor Pigments, a Toyo Ink subsidiary and manufacturer of high-performance pigments, was renamed Toyo Ink Europe Specialty Chemicals. Consequently, upgrades to equipment and the facility were made.
As for upcoming facility investment, Toyo Ink will be investing in facility equipment upgrades at Toyo Ink sites in emerging markets, such as China and India.
Toyo Ink is also enjoying the benefits of the new products it introduced at drupa 2008.
“At drupa 2008, Toyo Ink Group presented a display with the core concepts of high-function materials, coloring technology and globalization, marking the second time we participated in the international show,” Mr. Adachi said. “We featured a variety of high-performance printing inks and next-generational printing materials, such as Dynacal Series of outdoor marking films and the FD LED Series of LED-UV curable offset inks that are hard-dried using UV rays produced by dedicated light emitting diodes. Although the FD LED Series achieves the same level of ink performance as UV curable inks dried using conventional UV lamps, it reduces environmental impact by conserving energy.”
In addition to LED curable offset inks, Toyo Ink introduced FD Carton X, a new lineup of UV curable inks for packaging applications. FD Carton X offers superior printability, halftone reproductivity and adhesiveness on various materials, available for papers, general purpose and plastics.
Toyo Ink has long stressed eco-friendly product development using non-petrochemical ingredients, and Mr. Adachi noted that one innovative product are new inks based on rice bran and palm oil.
“In 2008, we introduced ‘rice ink’, a printing ink based on rice bran oil to the Japan market and palm oil-based printing inks in Malaysia,” Mr. Adachi said. “Based on our development strategy of ‘local production for local consumption’, we use raw materials that can be obtained locally that would otherwise go to waste, such as rice bran. Local production using locally available resources also helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions generated from the transportation of goods and raw materials from production sites to end users.”
With an eye toward improving supply chain efficiency and emphasizing environmentally friendly procurement efforts, Toyo Ink reorganized its procurement division and set up a committee to coordinate purchasing policies among various divisions for optimal supply-chain performance, group-wide, with an emphasis on green procurement.
“We are placing greater effort in identifying and assessing greener alternatives to the goods and raw materials we buy.This, we feel, will bring long-term advantages of increased overall cost efficiency and reduced environmental risks and liabilities,” Mr. Adachi noted.
“We’ve also established a committee to drive operations innovation and the creation of new business,” he added. “With the aim of enhancing our competitive advantage and long-term growth, this committee was set up to exploit opportunities and new ideas, spearheading operational change.
“Toyo Ink Group intends to follow through with our return to manufacturing basics, while striving to achieve an appropriate level of total fixed costs, practice global procurement of materials, reduce costs throughout the Group through operational reforms, and proceed with streamlining,” Mr. Adachi concluded. In addition, the Group will continue to further evolve into a sustainable, marketing-driven manufacturer with a stronger customer and environmental business focus.”
Major Products: Provider of solvent-based, water-based, energy curable and specialty liquid inks and coatings and related point-of-use services for the packaging and label industries. Product applications include flexible packaging, narrow web labels, tobacco and folding carton using flexographic, rotogravure and offset printing.
Key Personnel: Herbert Forker, CEO; Oliver Wittmann, CFO; Ralf Hildenbrand, president, Asia region; Dr. Ansgar Nonn, president NAFTA region; Hugo Noordhoek Hegt, president, packaging EMEA; Dan McDowell, president, global purchasing, global supply chain management development and IT. Marketing directors: Peter Heimerzheim, director, corporate communications; Thomas Bastian, director, marketing flexible packaging EMEA. Technical directors: Gilles Catherin, vice president, global innovation network (GIN), Klaus Heger, vice president, technology flexible packaging EMEA.
Number of Employees: 4,000 in more than 30 country organizations.
Comments: Siegwerk had a solid year in 2008, with sales of €820 million, down 3.3 percent from 2007. However, the shortfall was mainly driven by the sale of Siegwerk’s Australia and New Zealand business to Flint Group.
“Our sales and profit were lower than in 2007,” said Peter Heimerzheim, director corporate communications and corporate spokesperson for Siegwerk. “We faced a strong economic downturn starting during the past summer.”
Siegwerk’s main emphasis is on the packaging market, which proved to be more resistant to the recession.
“Due to the fact that we are mainly engaged in the packaging ink business, we are able to keep the impact of the current downturn comparatively low,” Mr. Heimerzheim noted. “The first two months in 2009 showed a strong decrease. March and April were better, but we are not sure if this is already the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Mr. Heimerzheim noted that Siegwerk enjoyed numerous highlights this year.
“There were a lot of success stories, like the selling of our business in Australia and New Zealand, where our critical mass was too small,” Mr. Heimerzheim said. “Our business in India was fully integrated and runs well. A board restructuring was completed. Business in Asia grew, especially in India, Indonesia and Thailand. Also, NAFTA did well in a declining market.”
Raw material prices fluctuated during the past year, rising rapidly before the economic recession took its toll near the end of the year.
“Before the declines in the last months, we saw very dramatic increases in the middle of 2008,” Mr. Heimerzheim said. “For example, pigments saw a fair rise and fall as well in the last months, but much of this was related to the limited output from China before and during the Beijing Olympic Games.” In an important move, Dan McDowell moved from president of the NAFTA region to president, global purchasing, global supply chain management development and IT.
“We changed our corporate structure on the board level,” Mr. Heimerzheim noted. “Dan McDowell took over his new board function as president, global purchasing, global supply chain management development and IT. In this newly created function, he is responsible for the implementation of standardized systems and processes within Siegwerk worldwide. We strongly believe that we can differentiate from our competition in a sustainable way by superior processes.”
Until Dec. 31, 2008, Mr. McDowell had headed Siegwerk’s NAFTA region, including the country organizations in Canada and the U.S. The newly formed Siegwerk Canada/USA (CUSA) organization has been taken over by Jim Ross. Ansgar Nonn, member of the board, is the new head of Siegwerk’s NAFTA region in addition to his responsibility as president of Siegwerk’s publication business (inks for publication gravure and web offset). Ralf Hildenbrand, former president, flexible packaging, took over the responsibility for Siegwerk Asia region. Hugo Noordhoek Hegt is president, packaging EMEA.
Siegwerk was extremely active on the R&D front, launching no fewer than eight major products in the past year. Tempo Nutripack is a 100% vegetable-based solution that reduces odor, and delivers outstanding print quality – all at a competitive price. Tempo Perfect permits ultra-fast printing together with high gloss and also ensures sustainability because it is a vegetable-based composition. Sicura Web ensures outstanding legibility, and also made processing outstandingly efficient: Since UV printing was used, the natural paper could be dried gently – for example in the last Harry Potter book. Sicura Plast LO runs in combination with solvent-based opaque white, can be used on various substrates and with an alcohol-free dampening solution. This offer is unlike any other on the market, and increases productivity by up to 10 percent.
The EBC4 ink series is the result of intensive cooperation between Siegwerk, its suppliers and Tetra Pak. This series is what packaging specialist Tetra Pak required after the problems that arose with the usage of the ITX photoinitiators. And it needed it fast. In just three months, the Siegwerk experts developed a truly innovative solution.
More performance is what the producer of Sheba cat food wanted. Because in addition to a seal r resistance of 350°C, the packaging now has to be much easier to produce, too. For around 30 years, the packaging had been printed with two-component inks in anything up to four passes. Now, working closely with the printers to Mars, the Siegwerk experts came up with a solution that combines a 2K base coating with a 1K color chromatic construction.
To make sure the hygiene products would convey their message in an eye-catching way, Siegwerk worked in close consultation with the Charmin print team to find a solution that would let them print a high-opacity white, then follow it up with outstanding halftones and color blocks.
Simply better is how Shadu wanted the next generation of cat food pouches to be. For the packaging that meant stronger color, better halftone printability, and outstanding lamination and bonding characteristics. Building on a proven ink series, Siegwerk developed a solution that was then fine-tuned under real-life printing conditions. The resulting PV 87 ink series is a real print technology delicacy. In addition to the superior quality, the excellent processing characteristics of PV 87 also mean less downtime and less cleaning effort.
Siegwerk also introduced its new Aridas waterless series. Better quality, less outlay and an important contribution to the protection of the environment – waterless newspaper printing offers all these advantages. Being convinced of those benefits, leading publishing houses in Europe introduced the new technology.
Major Products: Commercial offset, sheetfed, heatset, and newspaper offset inks; gravure inks for flexible packaging; flexo inks for corrugated carton and paper bag; metal decorating inks; UV/EB varnishes; inks for inkjet printers; and toners.
Comments: As was the case with the rest of the leading global ink manufacturers, Sakata INX had a challenging year in 2008, with consolidated sales declining 6.4 percent to 121.01 billion yen, with operating income also declining. Its fiscal year ended March 31, 2009, and while its first half sales were relatively flat, the economic downturn heavily impacted the second half of Sakata INX’s fiscal year. The printing market has been shrinking due to the economic recession, and the growth in the developing Asian market is slowing.
With price increases of raw materials due to the rise of crude oil price greatly impacting its profits, Sakata INX carried out price increases for all types of inks in Japan, Asia and North America and EU. Company officials noted that Sakata INX succeeded in the price increases to some extent, but its results were not sufficient to maintain profits.
To cope with the economic downturn, Sakata INX consistently targets cost savings to increase profits. In addition, Sakata INX is working to increase its share in markets such as North America, EU and Japan, as well as expanding ink sales in the Asia-Pacific market, which is expected to continue its growth.
The Asia-Pacific market remains an extremely important one for Sakata INX, and India is a key market. Sakata INX (India) Ltd. is setting up its largest ink manufacturing unit, which will be located in Panoli, Gujrat. Gravure and offset inks, including news inks, will be manufactured at the site, and officials expect the site will also make UV and digital inks in the future. In addition, INX International Ink Co., Sakata INX’s U.S. subsidiary, opened its new state-of-the-art water-based ink manufacturing facility in Homewood, IL
Through INX International Ink Co., Sakata INX successfully participated in its first drupa in 2008. The company showcased its newest offerings, including its inkjet offerings through INX Digital. Sakata INX is focusing on sales of inkjet inks and color toners in accordance with the rapid growth of digital printing market.In the past year, Sakata INX added Megaink Digital a.s. and Anteprima S.r.l., which have been incorporated in The INX Group Limited.
In new product news, Sakata INX launched FK-Flemio water-based corrugated board flexo inks with high-speed printability.
Major Products: Sheetfed, coldset and heatset offset inks; solvent-based gravure inks for packaging; water- and solvent-based flexo inks for packaging; UV offset and flexo inks; security inks; screen inks; fountain solutions, varnishes and transfer inks.
Key Personnel: Heiner Ringer, CEO; Ursula Borgmann, R&D technical director; Thomas Hensel, corporate controlling and IT; Klaus Pflazgraf, technical coordination and supply chain; Andreas Leidert, CFO. Michael Huber München GmbH: Rudolf Einsiedler and Heiner Klokkers, managers. Hostmann-Steinberg GmbH: Martin Overhageböck and Stefan Müller, managers; Gleitsmann Security Inks GmbH: Thomas Kleindienst, manager; Hostmann-Steinberg Canada: Mark Wilson, Vivy DaCosta and Tom Griebel, managers; Hostmann-Steinberg USA: TL Hensel, A. Bhardwaj and Mike Geiger.
Number of Employees:2,949 (consolidated basis).
Comments: As was the case with ink manufacturers large and small alike, hubergroup faced the double trouble of higher raw material prices in the first half of 2008, followed by the recession that plagued the second half of 2008 and still continues well into 2009. As a result, sales dropped 8 percent in 2008 to €690 million.
Heiner Ringer, hubergroup’s CEO, noted that the higher raw material costs went well beyond what the company anticipated going into 2008.
“We planned an 11 percent raw material increase in our 2008 budget against 2007 actual,” Mr. Ringer noted. “However, during the second and third quarters, raw material prices increased by nearly 30 percent, therefore there was no way to avoid drastic price increases for our own products even if the quantities would suffer through fierce competition.”
The recession obviously added to the problems faced by the industry.
“In the NAFTA Region, the recession became visible during the second half of 2008, whereas the effects of the recession hit Europe only during the last months of 2008,” Mr. Ringer said. “Volume reduction of ink consumption directly after a historic high in direct cost added to the profitability problem of the ink industry as well as in the graphic industry itself.”
hubergroup’s innovation is setting up strong opportunities for future growth, thanks to its !nkredible line for offset, sheetfed and coldset inks, Gecko solvent-based inks for packaging and HydroX water-based packaging inks, as well as its MGA low migration offset inks for food packaging.
Major Products: Sheetfed, heatset and coldset offset inks; solvent-based and water-based gravure inks; inkjet inks and dry toners; fountain solutions and printing additives.
Comments: The global recession heavily impacted the publication printing industry, and as a result, the printing ink industry faced its own challenges. While Asia was the least affected overall by the recession, Japan did feel the impact more.
As one of the leading Japanese ink manufacturers, Tokyo Printing Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd. faced its own challenges, with sales declining 8 percent to 54,645 million yen.
Tokyo Printing Ink’s major product lines include its Zipset offset inks, featuring sheetfed, heatset, coldset, UV, metallic, rubber-based and magnetic inks and process and Pantone colors, as well as inkjet inks and dry toners. Tokyo Printing Ink takes pride in developing ecologically responsible offset and gravure printing inks and related products for various industries that are superior in quality and performance.
Inctec Inc. 7-3, 2-Chome, Kanda-Sudacho Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo 101-0041 Japan Phone: +81-3-5294-3912 Fax: +81-3-5294-3585 http://www.inctec.co.jp/english/company/index.htm Sales: $444 million (43,200 million yen).
Major Products: Sheetfed, web offset (heatset, coldset), waterless, UV offset, news, solvent-based and water-based gravure, UV and water-based flexo, digital ink and toner.
Key Personnel: Itsuo Totsuka, CEO; Mitsutoshi Arotimi, executive officer of technical division; Hidenori Fukuda, executive officer of sales division; Osamu Wada, executive officer of sales division.
Number of Employees: 735.
Comments: Due to the steep rise of crude oil prices in fiscal year 2008, Inctec Inc. has been striving to cut every manufacturing cost while at the same time passing along material cost increases.
To overcome this hardship, Inctec Inc. has challenged to take various measures. To raise productivity, the company is intensifying manufacturing efficiency, such as consolidation of manufacturing of newspaper web offset inks, where the manufacturing base at the Tokyo factory in Yokohama was transferred to a fully automated factory in Utsunomiya 100 km north of Tokyo.
As Inctec Inc. continues to develop eco-friendly inks, the total amount of eco-inks are increasing. For gravure inks, the ratio of toluene-free ink is increasing, and for newspaper printing, the company is promoting its neutral type dampening chemicals, instead of the alkaline type widely available now in the market.
In 2008, Inctec Inc. introduced Web Shine Voss M, a new heatset web offset ink that can offer both high quality and petroleum-solvent free feature. For sheetfed ink, the company introduced Flora to the market as a vegetable-oil rich and eco friendly ink.
Major Products: Security inks and features for intaglio, offset, screen, gravure, flexo and inkjet printing of banknotes and value documents. Providers and integrators of security systems for product protection and excise tax enhancement. OVI for securing banknotes and identity documents. SICPA OASIS for value documents and product protection applications. SICPA Secure Trail system for product authentication and secure track and trace.
Key Personnel: Maurice A. Amon and Philippe Amon, executive co-chairmen.
Comments: With offices and manufacturing sites in 26 locations on five continents, SICPA provides security inks and solutions for most of the world’s banknotes, and has the world’s first ISO 9001-2000 certified security ink operation. SICPA is trusted technical advisors to central banks and banknote printers for selecting and integrating security features into upgraded and new banknote series; this close partnership has placed the company at the forefront of technological innovation in this domain over the last 60 years.
SICPA’s security inks and authentication devices are used on a wide range of documents, including passports, transport tickets and plastic cards, as well as on security labels applied to products. In response to the increase in the counterfeiting and illicit trade of all kinds of products, SICPA has expanded its business into integrated security systems that combine SICPA’s security ink technology with state-of-the-art information technology. SICPA now provides governments, law enforcers and rights holders with a complete security infrastructure against illicit trade, that both validates that a product is genuine and unadulterated, and tracks its journey from manufacture to final point of sale.
Fujifilm Sericol International Ltd. Pysons Road, Broadstairs Kent, UK CT10 2LE Phone: +44 1843 866668 Fax: +44 1843 872126 www.fujifilmsericol.com Sales: $350 million (Ink World estimate).
Major Products: UV screen, UV flexo, UV digital (piezo inkjet), solvent-based digital and solvent-based screen inks; screen pre-press; FUJIFILM and Inca Digital presses.
Key Personnel: Ed Carhart, CEO; Jerry Avis, European director; Mitch Bode, senior VP, Americas; Jeff Hand, regional director Asia/Pacific; Peter Kenehan, ISG director, Europe; Roy Wiles, CFO, COO; Malcolm Frier, HR director; Rob Fassam, international technical director; Steve Pocock, technical director, North America; Keith Harley, marketing director, Europe; Terry Mitchell, marketing director, North America.
Number of Employees: 1,250.
Comments: Fujifilm Sericol International Ltd. started the year with significant gains in sales of inks and equipment across a number of market segments and geographic areas. Sales, however, slowed considerably in the final quarter of 2008.
“Our global business in 2008 was growing quite nicely in the first half of the year with double digit year-on-year increases in consumables revenue, and significant gains in digital ink and digital inkjet equipment for wide format graphic printing,” Ed Carhart, CEO of Fujifilm Sericol, commented. “Although the global economic slowdown that affected most all businesses reduced demand for both our consumables and equipment in the last quarter of the year, we were still able to record double-digit growth in our digital business.”
One of the drivers of growth in digital was the full year impact of the German-based Colormy AG acquisition. Colormy offers wide format digital printers a full range of printers, inks, media, software and support. Fujifilm Sericol also launched Euromedia, a total wide format solution encompassing hardware, RIP/software, media, and ink designed to meet customers’ needs from one single source.
“The successful system sales approach developed by Colormy in Germany has now been implemented in the UK with Euromedia,” Jerry Avis, Fujifilm Sericol’s European director, said. “This initiative has really fueled our growth by offering complete solutions to the wide format market.”
Digital platforms and digital inks remain an important driver to Fujifilm Sericol’s future growth. Pete Kenehan, director of Fujifilm Sericol’s Inkjet Systems Group (ISG) commented, “The introduction of the revolutionary Inca Onset has been a key contributor to our success in inkjet. With 11 installations worldwide, these high productivity flatbed presses are producing millions of square feet of output and revolutionizing the market for digitally printed display graphics.
Sericol’s growth in digital has been partially offset by declines in the traditional screen ink business. There has been considerable decline in screen print output in the optical media market, and the print technology shift from screen to digital in the point-of-purchase graphics segment has also led to declining screen ink volume. However, Sericol has seen global growth in narrow web UV inks, fueled by Sericol’s new Super Nova White flexo ink and shrink sleeve inks. Shrink sleeve labels are a fast growing segment of the label market and Sericol’s Uvisleeve inks are gaining share in this growth segment of the business.
Fujifilm Sericol continues to develop and introduce new technology inks for screen, flexo and digital applications.
“We have recently formulated new UV digital inks with increased flexibility and elongation properties. These inks will open markets for new digital print applications such as vehicle graphics and industrial applications. We are also developing solvent digital inks using bio-based ingredients from sustainable sources that have less impact on the environment,” reported Rob Fassam, technology director for Fujifilm Sericol. “Development of inks from renewable resources, and reducing volatile organic compounds is a key focus of our digital ink development efforts.”
Fujifilm Sericol implemented several changes in its global operations in 2008. Several initiatives to consolidate some of its operations within existing Fujifilm companies were already in place prior to the economic slowdown that started late in 2008.
“As part of our on-going effort to increase operational efficiency, we have consolidated some of our Fujifilm and Fujifilm Sericol operations in certain markets. This has enabled us to improve service and support to our customers while reducing cost,” noted Mr. Carhart. “These restructurings were in full swing prior to the economic slowdown and enabled us to maintain profitability despite a decline in sales volume.”
Sericol is a part of the global graphics division of Fujifilm, and now many Fujifilm companies around the globe are expanding beyond the traditional screen and offset print markets by offering wide format digital equipment and inks.
“Fujifilm brings a wealth of experience in traditional print applications and is uniquely qualified to help printers adopt digital technologies to increase their capabilities to serve more end-use markets,” Mr. Carhart said.“This will enable us to offer significant value to our customers and really positions us for strong future growth.”
Major Products: UV offset, letterpress, flexo and screen inks; sheetfed offset inks; web offset heatset inks; waterless offset inks; gravure and flexo packaging inks; water-based varnishes; metal decorating products.
Key Personnel: H. Harry Morita, manager of overseas division; Masahiro Kakoi, marketing director; Masanao Kobayashi, technical director.
Number of Employees: 541 (T&K Toka); 1,491 (consolidated).
Comments: At a time when environmental consciousness is growing globally, T&K Toka, a UV ink specialist, is well positioned to offer solutions for its customers. The T&K in the company’s name stands for Technology and Kindness, which emphasizes the company’s commitment to its customers.
With the worldwide economy in recession, T&K Toka also was impacted, although its sales decline for 2008 was 2.9 percent, far less than most of its major competitors. Meanwhile, raw materials costs also were on the rise.
“Due to the economic tsunami and raw material price increase, sales and profit had a big negative impact,” said H. Harry Morita, T&K Toka’s manager of overseas division. Mr. Morita added that T&K Toka was able to soften the impact by keeping sales of high-end products such as UV and sheetfed offset ink and minimizing expenses.
T&K Toka has a major presence in China, as Hangzhou Toka Ink, T&K Toka’s joint venture in China, is the second-largest ink company in China. In 2006, the company opened a new plant at Hangzhou Toka Ink. The company also has operations in Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Bangladesh, and a U.S. distributor, Top Level Ink, in Dallas, TX.
The key for T&K Toka is its emphasis on UV and environmentally friendly inks. Mr. Morita noted that the company emphasized the development of environmental friendly inks, such as waterless ink (both conventional and UV), a rice oil ink, VOC-free ink and a UV LED ink, which uses less energy to cure. The company also is planning a new UV ink plant, with a total capacity of 1,200 tons per year.
Dainichiseika Color & Chemicals 7-6 Bakurocho 1-chome Nihonbashi, Chuo-Ku Tokyo 103-8383 Japan Phone: +81-3-3662-7111 Fax: +81-3-3669-3936 Internet: www.daicolor.co.jp Sales: $200 million (Ink World estimate); consolidated sales $1.61 billion (156.5 billion yen).
Major Products: Sheetfed, heatset, waterless and UV offset, gravure and specialty inks; security and banknote inks; and overprint varnishes.
Key Personnel: Osamu Takahashi, chairman and president; Shusaku Nakanishi, chairman of subsidiary and director; Shigemitsu Yamazaki, senior managing executive officer and director; Michiei Nakamura, senior managing director; Kazuhiko Arai, managing director, manager of business main unit; Yoshihisa Makino, managing director, Ryuichi Inoue, manager of purchase center, director; Akio Yoshida, manager of technology office, director; Koji Takahashi, senior managing director.
Number of Employees: 2,700 (colorants and printing inks); 3,701 (worldwide).
Comments: For Dainichiseika Color & Chemicals (DCC), a producer of colorants as well as inks, 2008 was a tale of two different years. The first half of their fiscal year, from April 1 to Sept. 30, was essentially flat, with the company’s sales hovering around 90 billion yen. The second half, however, tailed off dramatically, with sales dropping more than 23 billion yen in the second half of the fiscal year. All told, DCC’s sales declined 13.4 percent in the past year. Net profit also declined.
DCC announced the dissolution of Daicolor Philippines, Inc., a synthetic resin tinting and processing business, in September 2008.
Major Products: Sheetfed and web offset inks, solvent-based and water-based flexo and gravure inks, energy-curable inks and coatings, security inks, overprint varnish and aqueous coatings.
Key Personnel: Phil Lambert, CEO; Geoff Peters, president and COO; Daryl Collins, VP of national sales and regional operations; Martin Hambrock, VP of Canadian operations; Don Duncan, director of R&D; Ben Price, director of purchasing; Art Dennis, director of manufacturing; Buck Rorie, VP of finance and administration.
Number of Employees: 580.
Comments: For Wikoff Color, overall sales rose slightly in 2008, but declined in late 2008 and early 2009 as the economic downturn negatively impacted the printing industry.
“Sales were up slightly in 2008 overall, but fell off sharply at the end of the year and continue to be off so far in 2009,” said Phil Lambert, CEO of Wikoff Color. “The challenging economic conditions have impacted many of our customers. We continue to work with them to find cost effective solutions to their ink and coating needs.”
Even with the slight increase in sales in 2008, higher raw material costs cut into margins.
“Margins suffered in 2008 due to raw material prices increasing more than 10 percent throughout the year,” Mr. Lambert said. “While we were able to pass some of these increases to our customers, it was very difficult getting price increases fast enough or large enough to keep pace with the raw material increases. Furthermore, as petroleum prices began to drop, we were unable to immediately get the level of price relief we needed from our raw material vendors. Raw material pricing has been starting to come down in 2009, however.”
In these challenging times, improving efficiency is critical for companies. “To increase efficiency, Wikoff Color is undergoing major lean initiatives including capital improvements at its three largest manufacturing operations to enhance layout and flow,” said Geoff Peters, president and COO of Wikoff.
With an eye toward improving manufacturing, Wikoff Color hired Art Dennis as director of manufacturing. Mr. Dennis came to Wikoff with an extensive manufacturing and engineering background. Most recently, he was director, plant & operations for BAE Systems in Monroe, NC. Prior to BAE Systems, he held a number of other manufacturing and engineering positions, including in the printing industry with Rexxam (now Exopak). In addition, Wikoff Color promoted Ben Price to director of purchasing.
Mr. Peters said that Wikoff Color successfully introduced a number ofnew products this year. “We have developed and introduced many new products this year with higher plant-based renewable content, and we have also had considerable success with new specialty coatings,” he noted.
Major Products: Vs5 series, Quickson Plus, Quickson MultiFresh and Signature offset inks; Aqua Base Plus series water-based flexo inks; Van Son ArtColour and Van Son EasyPrint inkjet inks.
Key Personnel: Paul M. Brouwer, president.
Number of Employees: 280 (Ink World estimate).
Comments: Led by its offset lines, Royal Dutch Printing Ink Factories Van Son had a solid year in 2008. The company has enjoyed growth in its Vs series of inks for the mid- and large-sized commercial offset business. In the U.S., Van Son created a distribution network of ink manufacturers who sell the Vs series along with their own brands locally, thus providing commercial printers the service and technical support they need. The Vs line continues to expand, as Van Son introduced both its Vs4 waterless ink and Vs Zero, a no-VOC ink.
Van Son has expanded into the Asia-Pacific region, with the company investing in facilities in Korea and China.
Epple Druckfarben AG Gutenbergstrasse 5 DE – 86356 Neusaess, Germany Phone: +49-821-4603-0 Fax: +49-821-4603-200 Internet: www.epple-druckfarben.de Sales: $143 million (Ink World estimate).
Major Products: Sheetfed inks; inks for perfecting presses; UV inks; varnishes, fountain solutions and printing additives.
Key Personnel: Joachim Erlach, executive board (speaker); Edgar Buck, executive board; Dr. Wolfgang Josten, executive board; D. Carl Epple, executive board.
Number of Employees: 180 (Ink World estimate).
Comments: Epple Druckfarben AG, a Neusaess, Germany-based family-owned sheetfed ink specialist, had an excellent year in 2008, with sales increasing 10 percent from the previous year.
Company officials noted that the slow ink market is again intensifying the competition between ink manufacturers. However, Epple Druckfarben’s brand new state-of-the-art manufacturing line brings the company in position to play an active role in the future.
Higher raw material prices did have an impact on Epple. To combat these prices as best as possible, Epple opened up new raw material sources. Even with that, the rise in raw material prices could not be avoided or passed on to the customer completely.
In an important personnel move, Dr. Wolfgang Josten joined the company as head of the technical department.
R&D is one of the major strengths of Epple Druckfarben, and the past year saw the introduction of a number of exciting new products. Among the key new inks are Highlight, Temptation and BoFood MH 4-color process series.
Sanchez SA de CV Oriente 171 # 367 México City, Mexico Phone: +52 55 5118 1000 Fax: +52 55 5118 1090 Web: www.sanchez.com.mx Sales: $134 million (inks); $177 million overall.
Major Products: Offset, flexo, gravure, screen inks and overprint varnishes; offset plates, pressroom chemicals and presses.
Key Personnel: Ernesto J. Sanchez, managing director; Jose Sanchez, commercial director (paste inks); Miguel Talamantes, commercial director (liquid inks); Jesus McKelligan, operations director; Salvador Duran, technical manager (paste inks); Agustin Lozano, technical manager (liquid inks).
Number of Employees: 1,100.
Comments: The leading printing ink manufacturer in Mexico, Sanchez SA de CV has continued to enjoy strong growth in 2008.
“I believe we did quite well last year, with sales increase over the previous year of 13 percent in kilos of ink, and 17.5 percent increase in value in materials and equipment sales,” said Ernesto J. Sanchez, managing director of Sanchez SA de CV. Mr. Sanchez noted that the company enjoyed particularly good growth in packaging inks, which will be more resistant to downturns in the economy.
In September 2007, Sanchez SA de CV acquired Mexico City-based offset Prodaplag SA and its sister company, Barnimex SA. Mr. Sanchez said that integrating both companies went very well indeed. “A lot of energy was placed into the integration of Prodaplag last year,” Mr. Sanchez said. “By December, the integration of the company was completed. The results were very satisfactory, because we managed to keep all the Prodaplag customers, supplying them with the same products they were buying before, but internally there is only one company now.”
In spite of its continued growth, Sanchez SA de CV felt the impact of the global economic slump, and is taking steps to prepare for further problems.
“We started to perceive the impact of the crisis only in the last three months of last year, so for us the big issue will be in 2009,” Mr. Sanchez said. “We are cutting some of our expenses and trying to be more efficient.
Mr. Sanchez noted that 2008 was a challenging year for printers and ink suppliers in Mexico and Central America, although the U.S. recession did not have as heavy an impact in the region.
“It is clear to me that there is a delay in the crisis in our region,” Mr. Sanchez said. “In October, most of the countries suffered important devaluation of their currencies against the U.S. dollar, and the economy of the region started to slow down. The balance for 2008 was a small growth in ink sales for the Mexican and Central America market.”
Given its leadership position throughout the region, Mr. Sanchez believes his company is well prepared to overcome the economic downturn.
“For Sanchez, the fact of servicing different markets and countries in the region give us the balance needed to support the slowdown of the economy,” Mr. Sanchez said. “Our goal is to hold and increase our position of leadership in the region.”
Seiko Epson Corporation ("Epson") has been selected for the second time as a component company of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) and the Dow Jones Sustainability Asia Pacific Index (DJSI Asia Pacific), both leading indicators for socially responsible investment (SRI). The international stock indexes, jointly developed by the American company Dow Jones and Switzerland's SAM (Sustainable Asset Management) Group, assess companies around the world based on economic, environmental, and social perspectives, and select those with the best future prospects for achieving sustainability.
A review of the component companies is conducted on a yearly basis. On September 3rd, 317 corporations out of a pool of roughly 2,500 worldwide were designated as leading companies and selected to be included in the DJSI World. Epson was one of six that were selected from the computer hardware and electronic office equipment category of the technology sector.
In addition, Epson retained its position in the DJSI Asia Pacific, which was launched in January this year and is made up of the top 20% in terms of the SAM analysis out of the largest 600 companies in the developed Asia Pacific markets.
"Epson's selection is a reflection of our long-term efforts to earn the trust of our stakeholders in accordance with our management philosophy. In particular, Epson's environmental achievements, corporate citizenship initiatives, and stakeholder involvement were rated highly in this year's assessment," said Toshiyuki Fujimori, General Manager of the Trust-Based Management Department at Seiko Epson Corporation.
To find out more about Epson's CSR activities, or to view Epson's Sustainability Report 2009, please visit the Epson & the Community section on the corporate website. http://www.epson.co.jp/e/community/
A need for expansion has seen C41s Photo Imaging move to new facilities at the Evans Business Centre on North Road in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. The move has given proprietor Mark Stephens a larger counter and reception lounge with more display room, and creates a meeting area and social space.
The business traded for twenty years from small shop premises on a high street just outside Chester city centre, before moving to the Ellesmere Port location this year.
Mark Stephens tells us: “Prior to the move the business hadn’t been able to really progress. The reason for that was purely down to space. We didn’t really do much marketing or promotion, because we couldn’t do more work in the space we had. Where we are now is five times bigger. The reception and counter area alone is as big as the shop we’ve just left. So now we can promote and advertise to get more work in.”
The new premises are an industrial unit six miles from Chester. It’s just half a mile from Junction 7 of the M53 motorway and has ample free parking outside.
Fujifilm's Business Imaging Group Senior Inkjet Specialist, Mark Wade, has followed developments at C41s over the years. He said: “I've had the privilege of looking after C41s for Fujifilm for about eight years now, since the days of Fuji Hunt. They've driven their growth through digital inkjet printing. They’re a smashing bunch of people, one of the friendliest labs around and they produce a very high quality range of products. I congratulate Mark and his team. With the new premises, it's onwards and upwards for them!”
C41s operates Fujifilm Epson 7600 and 9800 large format printing solutions. They print onto Fujifilm HD White Cotton Canvas, Fujifilm Matt Bond Paper, Fujifilm Photo Paper Glossy 240gsm, and Fujifilm Pearl Photo Paper 290gsm up to 44 inches wide. C41s also uses Fujifilm Crystal Archive papers for traditional C type printing for both its professional and retail customers.
Revenue The Company's consolidated revenue declined to ¥502.4billion, or 23.1% below the level in the previous fiscal year. Revenue in each operating segment decreased owing to the impact of sales drop by yen appreciation as well as the impact of the global recession and associated demand drops. The amount of ¥34.1 billion out of sales reduction of ¥151.3 billion was negatively affected by yen appreciation.
Income To generate profit amid the current unprecedentedly harsh operating environment and ensure that it can continue to achieve corporate growth, the Fujifilm Group is endeavoring to build a robust corporate constitution and promote the rebuilding of growth strategies regarding emphasized business fields.
The Company is resolutely implementing concentrated structural reforms and thoroughly implementing measures to reduce costs and expenses throughout the entire Group and all businesses without any excluded business fields from the scope of those measures. The implementation of these measures proceeded on schedule during the first quarter of the current fiscal year, and restructuring and other charges during the quarter amounted to ¥10.3 billion.
Operating income before restructuring and other charges amounted to ¥7.6 billion (down 84.1% from the same period of the previous fiscal year), reflecting the impact of the revenue decrease and the negative impact of ¥8.2 billion by yen appreciation, while operating income after restructuring and other charges amounted to a loss of ¥2.7 billion, reflecting the recording of ¥10.3 billion in restructuring and other charges. Income before income taxes was ¥1.2 billion (down 97.9%, from the same period of the previous fiscal year), and the net loss attributable to FUJIFILM Holdings totaled ¥0.7 billion.
Large Format Review provides daily breaking news on digital printer technology as used for commercial production of print for wide-format sign and display, dye-sublimation textile and fabric printing, packaging and industrial applications. We also cover 3D print and additive manufacturing.