For ink manufacturers, the market in China offers some good opportunities.When Paul Skelcher, an ink industry veteran who had spent more than 20 years with Huber Group, Sun Chemical and Dainippon Ink & Chemicals (DIC), was assigned to China to start up Sun Chemical’s coldset web sales and distribution operations, he saw the opportunity to go into business for himself.
“I thought it might be a nice idea to start a business on my own,” Mr. Skelcher said.
As a result, Mr. Skelcher founded EuroStar Offset Ink, a Hong Kong-based sheetfed ink company that manufactures its inks on a 20-acre site in China, although it is completely focused on the export market. The group’s backward integration allows EuroStar to produce its own pigments, flushed pigments, vehicles and ink additives to ensure quality and consistency across the whole of the manufacturing process.
“We take advantage of the lowercost of manufacturing in China, covering the complete spectrum of ink production, including making the cans,” said Mr. Skelcher, who is the managing director of EuroStar. “We are focusing on the high-end export ink market, and our inks meet European standards.”
The company prides itself on creating high-quality precision ink, and its March 2007 appointment of David Owen, a 35-year ink industry veteran, as technical director is a further step in that direction. Mr. Owen had been technical director of Sun Chemical in the UK for the past 20 years, and is the author of an industry text book, Printing Inks for Lithography,a contributing author to the latest edition of the Printing Ink Manual and is a past chairman of the Society of British Printing Ink Manufacturers Technical Committee.
The company has enjoyed growth worldwide in its four years. Mr. Skelcher noted that EuroStar has developed strong positions in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, and is now looking at the North American marketplace.
“Slowly, step by step, we are building our brand,” Mr. Skelcher said. “Our business relies on distributors, and we hope to have a distributor in every country in the next three years. Due to the consolidation within the ink industry, there are a lot of dealers who don’t have a brand to sell anymore, and we see that as an opportunity. We are also doing a lot of private label work for OEM companies.”
In August 2007, EuroStar opened its first overseas office, forming EuroStar Ink-USA. Felix Menendez, managing director of EuroStar Ink-USA, said the North American market represents a good opportunity for the company.
“The U.S. is a good market to be in, and we were already selling our inks here to OEM dealers,” Mr. Menendez said. “As a new company in the market, we are trying to convince customers, which is a challenge, but we are gaining customers as they learn more about what we can do for them.”