Ink industry shows some signs of improvement after a challenging year, with Sun Chemical topping the turnover charts
For the vast majority of leading global ink manufacturers, the past fiscal year was difficult. A quick look at our annual Top International Ink Companies Report shows that most of the top 10 global ink companies faced declining sales, as the global recession and the changing nature of the printing industry impacted the industry.
However, in reading this year’s report, there is also good news as well, beginning with the improving economy. In talking with leading ink industry executives, they noted that the second half of the year was a noticeable improvement, although nowhere near the sales level of a few years ago.
A number of leading companies also noted that they improved their profitability despite declining sales and higher raw material prices. Essentially, ink manufacturers have prepared as best they could for the downturn.
Another area of interest is the growth of some key technologies. Companies that focus most of their efforts on packaging, digital and energy curing technologies generally saw their sales hold up better than companies with a large position in the publication and commercial ink market.
The past few years have been challenging ones for the ink industry, and hopefully these recent improvements are a signal that better times are ahead.
The Top International Ink Companies (Ink and Graphic Arts Sales)
- DIC/Sun Chemical $5.44B
- Flint Group$2.90B
- Toyo Ink $1.31B
- Sakata INX $1.17B
- Siegwerk Group$1.08B
- Huber Group $917M
- Tokyo Printing Ink $543M
- Fujifilm Sericol International $350M*
- T&K Toka $336M
* Estimated fugures
1 DIC Corporation (Including Sun Chemical Corporation)
Sales: DIC: $5.44 billion (474.9 billion yen) in graphic arts, including Sun Chemical, which has more than $3.5 billion in sales. Total sales: $8.68 billion (757,800 million 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: Kazuo Sugie, president and CEO; Kaiji Yamaki, senior managing executive officer; Yoshihisa Kawamura, managing executive officer, Printing Inks and Supplies Business Operations; Yutaka Hashimoto, executive officer, corporate R&D; Tetsuro Agawa, executive officer, technical administration.
Number of Employees: 22,583 worldwide.
Comments: As the global leader in printing inks, DIC Corporation was clearly impacted by the same forces that affected virtually every other ink manufacturer. The global recession took its toll on printers, while raw material costs and supply issues are major concerns. While the economy did improve in the second half of DIC’s fiscal year, which ended March 31, 2010, DIC still had a difficult year overall.
As a result of the recession, DIC’s consolidated net sales were down 18.7 percent. In the graphic arts market, DIC’s sales declined 19.9 percent, to $5.44 billion.
The decline in sales was felt worldwide. In Japan, sales improved continuously and steadily during the period, but fell short of the previous fiscal year. Overseas, sales declined as the January–March 2009 quarter coincided with the worst period of the economic downturn – a situation that was aggravated by the appreciation of the yen.
In contrast, operating income rose 9.7 percent, despite a steep fall in operating income in the Graphic Arts Materials segment in the Americas and Europe, which DIC attributes to declining shipments, among others.
In Japan, DIC’s graphic arts sales declined 3.2 percent to $1.4 billion. Sales of gravure inks were firm as demand for flexible packaging applications, particularly beverage containers and food packaging, remained steady. Sales of offset inks and news inks struggled, owing to, respectively, stagnant sales for publishing and advertising leaflets and declining print runs and page counts for newspapers.
Still, overall sales of printing inks increased, bolstered by the assumption of commercial rights for the domestic printing inks business of The Inctec Inc., as of the third quarter.
The Americas and Europe proved to be particularly rough for DIC and its subsidiary, Sun Chemical. Net sales for the year declined 25.8 percent. DIC reported that sales of news inks and inks for publishing decreased in North America and Europe amid shrinking print runs for newspapers and magazines.
On a positive note, in Central and South America, sales were essentially level with the previous fiscal year. Although rationalization efforts were partially effective, segment operating income in the Americas and Europe fell.
The story was similar in Asia and Oceania, where net sales decreased 16.7 percent to $658 million. Sales in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) were down slightly due to falling sales of news inks and offset inks, which offset an increase in sales of gravure inks, especially environmentally friendly products.
Sales also fell in Southeast Asia and Oceania, despite an increase in sales of gravure inks, as a consequence of sluggish sales of news inks and offset inks. In India, sales were on a par with the previous fiscal year as brisk sales of gravure inks countered a decline in sales of news inks.
In major news, DIC and DNP formed a new joint venture, DIC Graphics, which carries commercial rights, employees and facilities of Inctec and DIC. DIC invested 66.6 percent to the JV, so it has become one of DIC’s subsidiaries.
DIC reorganized its business segment during the past year. The segments are now Printing Inks and Supplies; Neo-Graphic Arts Materials; Synthetic Resins; and Chemical Solution Materials. Printing Inks & Supplies would have had $4.7 billion in terms of sales for 2009. Neo-Graphic Arts Materials would have totaled $1.11 billion.
In order to improve the company’s performance, DIC officials worked on reducing costs and improving its product mix to keep profitability. Sales of offset and news inks have been decreasing slightly year by year in developed countries due to stagnant sales for publishing. As a counter measure, DIC has cut costs on a large scale while also starting to focus its business efforts more on packaging inks, which shows firm demand all over the world.
2 Flint Group S.A.
Sales: $2.9 billion (€2.21 billion).
Major Products: Flint Group is dedicated to serving the global print media and packaging industry. Products include coldset 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, pressroom 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, EVP and CFO; Dr. Dirk Aulbert, president, Packaging and Narrow Web; Dermot Healy, president, Print Media Europe; William B. Miller, president, Print Media Americas; Dr. Thomas Telser, president, Flexographic Products; Craig Foster, president, Pigments; Russell Taylor, SVP global human resources and communications; Jan Paul van der Velde, SVP, procurement.
Number of Employees: Approximately 7,300 worldwide.
Comments: As was the case for virtually all ink manufacturers, Flint Group felt the impact of the global recession on the printing industry. To offset the impact of the recession, the company put even more emphasis on customer focus while controlling its own costs.
Flint Group CEO Charles Knott said that 2009 was a difficult year for the industry.
“The changes in the world’s economy during Q4 of 2008 accelerated the changes that our industry was facing,” Mr. Knott said. “This meant two key attention areas for Flint Group. Firstly, ensuring that our products, and more importantly our people, were focused on delivering tangible value to our customers, and secondly, ensuring that internally, we eliminated waste and had an appropriate cost structure for the market in which we operate.”
“Flint Group performed well under challenging circumstances by focusing on customers, controllable costs and innovation,” added Bill Miller, president, Print Media Americas
It was this stronger customer focus that also helped Flint Group to perform well within the European markets as Dermot Healy, president, Print Media Europe, commented. “As a result of our decision to re-structure the business at the beginning of 2009, we were able to react with more agility to the reducing demand from the marketplace and to take advantage of our unrivaled portfolio to stabilize our business,” Mr. Healy added.
Likewise, 2009 was also a tough year for the whole packaging and label industry but as Dr. Dirk Aulbert, president, Packaging & Narrow Web Division, said, “It turned out to be a much better year than anyone would have expected at the mid-year point. The first half was slow, while the second half was in recovery. The formation of Flint Group's global division Packaging and Narrow Web early 2009 strengthened our offerings to customers during difficult times.”
For Flint Group, the improvement in the economy as the year progressed was good news.
“Early 2009 was the low point for print demand, and therefore ink demand,” said Mr. Miller. “Demand increased slowly after that, and has continued to do so. The uptick is evident in a number of ways, including the resulting shortages in raw materials that are now in demand after a time of decreased inventories and capacity.”
This view was echoed by Mr. Healy. “There were definite signs that the recession bottomed in the first half of 2009, and so we did see some recovery in volumes in the latter part of the year,” he said. “However it is all relative, and these improvements are measured against a very low point; 2010 has started reasonably well and market volumes have improved, especially in heatset and sheetfed applications, although the newspaper sector continues to struggle.”
This optimism is also shared in the packaging sector, which by its very nature is less vulnerable than the Print Media markets to economic downturns.
“The majority of packaging printers have regained enough volume to feel more confident about the rest of 2010 and further into the future,” Dr. Aulbert said. “We expect the packaging industry to show positive growth for the rest of 2010.”
In terms of highlights, 2009 witnessed the successful re-structuring of the Flint Group business to create a more customer-focused organization. The two key elements of these changes were the creation of regional Print Media divisions in Europe, Asia-Pacific as well as North and Latin America and the formation of the global Packaging and Narrow Web business unit.
Looking back 12 months on from the restructure, Mr. Knott commented, “In early 2009 we established a Print Media Division and a Packaging Division to enable customers to fully benefit from the total product and service offering that Flint Group could deliver. We wanted to make doing business with us easier and more efficient for our customers and we have been very successful in doing this.
“We have been able to provide some significant advantages to our customers as a result of the reorganization,” Mr. Knott added. “We can now draw on an unrivaled network of products, knowledge, expertise, service and support that provides real value to customers to help them to remain competitive in a difficult economy.”
Mr. Healy described how the restructure has enabled Flint Group’s Print Media Europe Division to meet customer needs better than ever before.
“In bringing together five former divisions into just one, we have created a truly unique organization, capable of reacting far more quickly to market and economic needs,” Mr. Healy noted. “Our value proposition now centers around a unique portfolio of products and support which enables us to concentrate our efforts and resources on matching customer needs, in both optimized product performance and in a bespoke service.”
“The formation of the global Packaging and Narrow Web Division with its extended reach and clear focus on the Packaging and Label market has enabled Flint Group to lever its global capabilities to provide tailored products and services to both regional and international packaging and label printers across all regions,” Dr. Aulbert added.
During 2009, Flint Group strengthened its customer service and support structure in key growth markets. Flint Group’s Packaging and Narrow Web division made a number of key investments in Russia (acquisition of Russian ink producer and distributor Premo Ink LLC in Moscow), Turkey (joint venture Flint-Unirep Packaging Inks and also invested in improving the infrastructure of its Polish site with the building of a brand new warehouse and production hall with a total space of 2,000 square meters. An additional office building in Poland is also scheduled to follow in mid- 2010.
In February 2010 Flint Group signed an agreement to acquire Torda, a leading manufacturer of printing inks for the packaging markets in Northern Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East with a substantial presence in Eastern Europe.
“The company’s business model and performance is an excellent fit for Flint Group’s strategy,” Dr. Aulbert said. “Torda’s setup ideally complements and expands Flint Group’s network of manufacturing and service facilities into exciting growth markets. The acquisition of Torda thus supports Flint Group’s strategy to grow in the packaging print consumables market in a sustainable and profitable way by strengthening its position in these developing markets. Moreover, Torda has some excellent technology positions which we will be able to leverage throughout the global Flint Group organization.”
“The recent Torda acquisition falls in line with our strategy to selectively participate in industry consolidation where it makes economic sense and to add businesses where we can selectively strengthen our product range or regional coverage,” Mr. Knott added.
3 Toyo Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd.
Sales: $1.31 billion (121,100 million yen) in printing ink and graphic arts supplies; consolidated results: $2.44 billion (226,100 million yen).
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.
Key Personnel: Kunio Sakuma, president and CEO; Katsumi Kitagawa, executive vice president, COO; Shigeki Matsuyama, senior managing director; Kazunori Kasahara, managing director.
Number of Employees: 6,897 (consolidated).
Comments: The global economy proved difficult for ink manufacturers, and for Toyo Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd., sales in the consolidated fiscal year 2009 decreased primarily due to sluggish demand. In contrast, profits increased significantly, because of the expansion of high-function product sales and vigorous cost-cutting measures.
Yu Adachi, corporate communications, Toyo Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd., noted that recovering from the global recession is slow, and demand for printing inks remained weak in Japan, Europe and the U.S. This was accompanied by a drop in demand for electronics materials, such as LCD-related products, during the first half of the consolidated fiscal year 2009.
In the second half, a rapid recovery took place, as sales of offset inks and gravure inks picked up in China and Southeast Asia. In addition, sales rose in India. However, sales were not sufficient to offset the weak performance in the first half.
Toyo Ink Group plans to continue conducting activities to boost new product sales, expand business in growth markets such as China, India and Brazil, opening its new subsidiary in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In an organizational announcement, Toyo Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd. plans to adopt a holding company structure beginning April 1, 2011. The printing and information-related business and the package-related business, both of which have been operated by the company, will be taken over by Toyo Ink Co., Ltd., while the polymer, painting and processing-related business and the color materials and functional materials-related business, which have also been operated by the company, will be taken over by Toyochem Co., Ltd. That involves the establishment of new companies through a corporate split conducted solely by the company. On the day the company split takes effect, the company will change its trade name to Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co., Ltd.
4 Sakata INX Corp.
Sales: $1.17 billion (109,145 million yen in printing ink and graphic arts); $1.21 billion (113,669 million yen) consolidated.
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.
Key Personnel: Hirotsugu Takamaru, president; Mitsuru Kojima, senior managing director; Masanori Kano, managing director; Yoshiaki Uesaka, managing director.
Number of Employees: 3,051 (consolidated basis); 816 (non-consolidated basis).
Comments: Sakata INX weathered the global recession fairly well during its fiscal year, with ink and graphic arts sales increasing 2.1 percent to $1.17 billion.
Overall, the company did feel the impact of the economic downturn, as Sakata INX’s total sales dropped 6.1 percent.
“Total sales for Sakata INX Corp. in 2009 were below the previous year by 6.1 percent, due to the shortfall of graphic arts sales and the negative impact of the currency exchange conversion,” said Dr. Kotaro Morita, director of Sakata INX Corp. “However, the operating income in 2009 exceeded the previous year due to improved profitability with cost reductions.”
Dr. Morita did note that the economy picked up in the latter part of the year, and Sakata INX enjoyed improved sales as a result.
“Our sales have been increasing since the second half of 2009 as we see recovery with the global economy, except in Europe,” he said. “The Asian economy recovered rapidly and remains strong.”
The evolution of the printing industry is having a profound effect on ink manufacturers, and Dr. Morita said that Sakata INX is embracing those changes, whether it is the growth of the digital market and the increased interest in flexible packaging and environmentally friendly products.
“The digitalization of printing is moving ahead and advertising media is changing the internet, so conventional offset printing on paper has been reduced and the ink market is in a declining trend,” Dr. Morita said. “All ink makers are competing very hard to increase market share in a limited market. We produce high quality inks at a competitive price and focus on the sale of inkjet inks and color toners in accordance with the rapid growth of digital printing market.
“Meanwhile, the flexible packaging printing market is getting larger, especially in Asia, and the demand for environmentally friendly inks is increasing,” Dr. Morita added. “We have strengthened our development and sales of environmentally friendly inks to meet the market requirements.”
Sakata INX is enjoying growth throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and the company is expanding the production capacity for offset inks in Maoming, China, and for gravure packaging inks in Vietnam during fiscal 2010. Sakata INX also expanded its inkjet ink efforts.
“We consolidated three inkjet in companies in the USA and Europe under one organizations – INX Digital International Co. – to expand the inkjet ink side of our business,” Dr. Morita said. “We also started several promising business expansion projects in Asia.”
Sales: $1.08 billion (€774 million).
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 operations. Marketing director: Thomas Bastian, director, marketing flexible packaging EM EA. Technical directors: Gilles Catherin, vice president, global innovation network (GIN), Klaus Heger, vice president, technology flexible packaging EMEA.
Number of Employees: 3,900 in more than 30 country organizations.
Comments: Siegwerk reported that sales declined in 2009 to $1.08 billion, down 4.9 percent (FX-adjusted) from 2008), largely due to the decline in the publication gravure market.
“The shortfall was mainly driven by the closure of publication gravure in the U.S. and the general downturn in the publication gravure segment,” said Enno Urbeinz, manager, corporate communications and corporate spokesperson for Siegwerk.
Siegwerk’s main emphasis though 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 were able to keep the impact of the current downturn comparatively low,” Mr. Urbeinz noted. “The first five months of 2010 showed a recovery of the established markets like the U.S. and Germany, but we are not sure if this is already the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Packaging business in emerging markets grew, especially in Turkey, Russia, India, Poland and Argentina.
Siegwerk enjoyed numerous highlights in 2009. To name some examples, Siegwerk’s business unit Web Offset successfully started the new production line of the Aridas series for waterless coldset newsprinting. Better quality, less outlay and an important contribution to the protection of the environment – waterless newspaper printing offers all these advantages.
The pioneering achievement of the Siegwerk ink specialists lies in developing UV flexographic printing inks, UV screen printing inks and UV overprint lacquers for the specific radiation spectrum of LED light that cure fully despite the low energy and are a match for conventional UV inks in terms of drying speed.
Renewable 50+ is a strong new product. More than 50% of Siegwerk’s new developed Eco-overprint varnish 85-600405-6 is made up of renewable components. Thanks to the technological breakthrough, Siegwerk is confident that it will soon be able to offer environmentally conscious printers not only the overprint varnish, but also a full series of UV inks consisting largely of renewable raw materials.
The lowest possible odor at the same time as outstanding adhesion on synthetic materials – these were the demands for Siegwerk’s special low-odor ink Sicura Plast LO. Siegwerk’s new all-purpose ink series for commercial and packaging app lications, Tempo Allegro permits ultra-fast printing of premium quality (around 18,000 sheets per hour). It is a 100% vegetable-based composition without any mineral oil compound and it is fully compatible with Siegwerk’s alcohol-free fountain solutions Aquamax series.
Sales: $917 million (approximately €640 million).
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 and head of global marketing; Ursula Borgmann, R&D technical director; Thomas Lothar Hensel, corporate controlling and IT; Juergen Maeckelburg, 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 Dr. Thomas Griebel, managers; Hostmann-Steinberg USA: Thomas Lothar Hensel, Ashwani Bhardwaj and Michael Geiger.
Number of Employees: Approximately 3,600 worldwide.
Comments: For the hubergroup and the entire ink industry, 2009 was challenging, with the global recession adversely affecting printers and ink manufacturers. Meanwhile, raw material prices continued to soar as supply of key ingredients became scarcer.
Heiner Ringer, hubergroup’s CEO, has gone as far to term it a “crisis,” and noted that the company’s sales were off 7 percent in 2009.
“Our industry was battered by various crises in both 2008 and 2009,” said Mr. Ringer. “There was the raw materials crisis in mid-2008. The price development skyrocketed in comparison to 2007, after drupa, by about 30 percent. The printing ink industry had never dealt with that type of development in the entire post-war period. The price increase for raw materials peaked in September-October 2008. For the turn of the year 2008-2009 the price situation settled again, but ‘only to turn into a drastic reduction in demand.’ In the first quarter of 2009, decreases in European demand of up to 25 percent were recorded, depending on the business area. As of today, the level of 2007 has still not been reached again. In addition, there were extreme fluctuations in currency exchange.
“It was something that no one was able to completely elude, and of course the hubergroup was not entirely unaffected,” Mr. Ringer added. “In comparison to 2008, turnover dropped by approximately €50 million, or 7 percent. Profit before taxes had already halved in 2008, whereas it rebounded slightly in 2009, largely on the basis of lower raw material costs and exchange rates, but not on the basis of an increase in demand.”
All of Europe was impacted by the recession. Mr. Ringer said that according to the statistics of the European Printing Ink Association, EuPIA, the Scandinavian countries have been heavily affected, as well as BENELUX and Spain. England was especially heavily impacted by a devaluation of the pound as a result of the financial crisis.
“Unfortunately, hardly any region has distinguished itself positively. In a world economic crisis, it is simply a fact that everyone is affected in some way,” he added.
To meet this downturn, hubergroup instituted a wide variety of cost-saving measures, most notably a temporary voluntary salary reduction, which the company has been able to reverse as the economy improved near the end of 2009.
“As they say, we have ‘tightened our belts,’ which is to say we have subjected all issuable positions to strict controls and saved wherever possible,” Mr. Ringer said. “We were able to avoid ‘reduced hours’ at the expense of the tax payer, but we agreed to voluntary salary and wage saving measures with the entire workforce of the hubergroup at a magnitude of approximately 9 percent. It is a measure that we were able to reverse – thank God – towards the end of 2009 on the basis of a slight improvement in earnings, primarily due to exchange rates.”
Raw material prices are a major challenge for all ink manufacturers.
“Fortunately, in times of low economic activity raw material prices are often falling as well,” Mr. Ringer said. “Now they are picking up again, though, which can be seen in more places than just the petrol station. According to our observations, the raw material price level was at its lowest in Q3 2009. This was also the case with the employment situation. Since then, a continuous price increase has been noted, which is strengthened all the more by the weak euro. The economic upswing is also a long time coming. I think everyone will somehow have to adapt to continually increasing costs.”
While hubergroup has continued to emphasize R&D and key investments, luxury items such as trade show participation has been eliminated. That includes drupa 2012.
“We have made an effort to not curtail important long-term expenditures, such as important investments or expenditures in research and development, and instead have cut out ‘nice to have’ expenditures. For example, participation in the next drupa simply failed the cost-benefit analysis,” Mr. Ringer said.
All things considered, it seems that the worst is past, although there are plenty of obstacles that lie ahead.
“We may also look to the future with cautious optimism,” Mr. Ringer observed. “The demand figures are not currently falling any further and it appears as though the bottom has been reached. The printing and printing ink industry, however, faces great challenges ahead and the coming months will provide a clearer picture of the tendencies.”
7 Tokyo Printing Ink
Sales: $543 million (47,440 million yen).
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.
Key Personnel: Atsuo Ohashi, president; Koichi Ishihara, director, executive officer; Koichi Ito, director, executive officer; Kazufumi Sakai, director, executive officer.
Number of Employees: 667.
Comments: The downturn in the global economy impacted ink manufacturers heavily, and Tokyo Printing Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd., one of Japan’s leading ink manufacturers, was no exception, as it saw its sales decrease 13 percent.
Among Tokyo Printing Ink’s major product lines are 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. In addition, the company makes synthetic resins, color and additive concentrates and compounds and other chemical products.
8 SICPA Holding SA
Sales: In Excess of $400 million.
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: SICPA is the leading global provider of security inks and solutions for most of the world’s banknotes as well as a wide range of documents, such as passports, transport tickets, plastic cards and lottery scratch cards. In response to the increase in counterfeiting, SICPA has leveraged its expertise from developing inks and solutions for banknotes and value documents into security systems that combine SICPA’s ink technology with information technology that tracks a product from manufacture to point of sale.
9 Fujifilm Sericol International Ltd.
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: Sam Ota, president, Graphic Systems Division, Fujifilm North America Corporation; Mitch Bode, general manager, Sericol Unit, Graphic Systems Division, Fujifilm North America Corporation; Ryuta Masui, general manager, Fujifilm Europe Graphic Systems Division; Pete Kenehan, managing director, Fujifilm Specialty Ink Systems Limited; Jerry Avis, chief commercial officer, Fujifilm Specialty Ink Systems Limited.
Number of Employees: 1,250 (Ink World estimate).
Comments: A global leader in screen and digital inks, Fujifilm Sericol’s International saw the recession impact its screen ink business at the beginning of 2009. However, the digital ink side enjoyed modest growth, offsetting the decline in screen ink sales.
“Fujifilm Sericol International Ltd. started 2009 at a slow pace compared to historical sales due largely to the global economic recession that started in the final quarter of 2008,” said Mitch Bode, general manager, Sericol Unit, Graphic Systems Division, Fujifilm North America Corporation. “The global economic slowdown affected most all of our customers and markets, and reduced demand for both our consumables and equipment.
Mr. Bode noted that digital inks were an exception, where sales growth was still achieved albeit at a slower pace than previous years.
“The growth in digital was offset by modest declines in the traditional screen ink business,” he added. “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. The company has seen global growth in narrow web UV inks as well as growth in the sales of wide format media marketed in Europe under the Euromedia brand.”
The screen ink market has suffered due to the recession as well as the continuing growth of digital, but there has been some recovery as the economy improves. Meanwhile, the digital ink side of the business continues to grow.
“Market demand for graphic and industrial inks isn’t where it was before the onset of the global recession,” Mr. Bode said. “However, we have seen a recovery since September 2009 that has been sustained through the first quarter of this year. The demand for print has definitely begun to improve over the last several months. Our graphic screen ink volumes have been maintained due in part to the favorable cost of screenprinting especially with longer print runs. Industrial screen ink demand still lags historical volumes, but is also improving as a result of the improving economy.
“Our digital ink business continues to grow, and we expect to see business get even better as the economy continues to turn around,” Mr. Bode added. “We have also noticed that sales of point of purchase graphics are improving as consumer confidence continues to strengthen.”
Fujifilm Sericol anticipates growth in wide format inkjet as the demand for shorter print runs or multiple versions of jobs continues to rise, and Mr. Bode anticipates that UV inkjet will be particularly successful.
Fujifilm Sericol’s global operations continued to be integrated within regional Fujifilm graphics companies during 2009, and all of Fujifilm Sericol’s operating units have now been consolidated within Fujifilm.
“Fujifilm’s objective in this company-wide organizational change is to better leverage all of the Fujifilm Sericol resources by getting those resources fully integrated into the Fujifilm graphic business worldwide,” Mr. Bode said. “Expectations are that this will provide a more efficient means of providing customers with the best possible service and support.”
As a result of the reorganization, there were several changes in leadership positions as a result of the worldwide integration of Fujifilm Sericol with Fujifilm Graphics companies. The Inkjet Systems Group of Fujifilm Sericol will continue to be responsible for the growth of the overall wide format inkjet business throughout the Fujifilm group and will develop next generation inkjet inks and develop new markets through differentiated inkjet technology. The group continues to be headed by managing director Pete Kenehan
In Europe, all Fujifilm Sericol sales and marketing businesses will be integrated into Fujifilm units under the leadership of Ryuta Masui, general manager of Fujifilm Europe Graphic Systems Division. Jerry Avis, chief commercial officer, Europe, will take responsibility for all other Fujifilm Sericol European businesses and report to Mr. Masui.
The Fujifilm Sericol USA unit will continue to be based in Kansas City and managed by Mr. Bode. The Sericol unit, including all employees and functional departments in the U.S. and Mexico, will be integrated into the Fujifilm Graphics Systems Division located in Hanover Park, IL. Mr. Bode will report to Sam Ota, president, Graphic Systems Division, Fujifilm North America Corporation.
10 T&K Toka Co. Ltd.
Sales: $336 million (29,375 million yen); $511 million (44,626 million yen) (consolidated).
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: Hiro Iida, sales representative in charge of America; Masahiro Kakoi, marketing director; Masanao Kobayashi, technical director.
Number of Employees: 600 (T&K Toka); 1,500 (consolidated).
Comments: As a specialist in UV technology, T&K Toka (the T&K in the company’s name stands for Technology and Kindness) is strongly positioned at a time when environmental consciousness is growing globally.
T&K Toka enjoyed increased demand throughout China and Asia, although total consumption of offset ink in Japan dropped 13%, which affects Toka a lot. Production of specialty ink was increased significantly, led by the prevailing LCD technology.
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 Hangzhou Toka Ink. In addition, the company has operations in Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Bangladesh, and a U.S. distributor, Top Level Ink, in Dallas, TX.
Harry Morita, T&K Toka’s manager of overseas division, said that the economy has improved in recent months, but margins are challenging overall.
“We could foresee the improvement of the economy, but we cannot optimize the price of oil and other materials,” Mr. Morita noted. “As the printing industry, our main client, is in a tough situation, we would be under pressure of price decreases. Also, extremely high technology and quality control are required for specialty inks.”