The U.S. Top 20 Report

By Staff | 04.10.06

Mergers and acquisitions and higher raw material costs were the major news in 2005, as ink manufacturers raised prices and worked to improve their margins.

Rank Company North American Ink Sales (in millions) Global Ink Sales (Parent) (in millions) Last Year
1 Sun Chemical $1,700* $4000 (Sun Chemical)** 1
2 Flint Ink $950* $2700 (Flint Group) 2
3 INX International $300 $852 (Sakata INX) 3
4 CR/T $235*   4
5 Siegwerk $167 $925 (Siegwerk Group) 6
6 Hostmann-Steinberg $160 $900 (Huber Group) 11
7 DuPont Ink Jet $150*   5
8 Wikoff Color $118*   8
9 Toyo Ink America $105 $1120 (Toyo Ink) 9
10 Central Ink $75   10
10 Markem/Aellora $75*   12
10 Sericol $75* $275 (Sericol International) 13
13 Nazdar $65*   13
13 Superior $65   13
15 Van Son $64 $150 (Royal Dutch Van Son) 16
16 SICPA $60* $350 (SICPA Group) 17
17 Ink Systems $58   17
18 American Inks & Coatings $50   New
19 Color Resolutions $47*   19
20 Environmental Inks $44*   20
* Ink World estimate
** Parent company Dainippon Ink & Chemicals has global ink sales of $4.95 billion

1. Sun Chemical Corporation

35 Waterview Blvd.
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Phone: (973) 404-6000
Fax: (973) 404-6001

Sales: Sun Chemical had sales approaching $4 billion in printing inks and colorants worldwide. North American Sales: $1.7 billion (Ink World estimate).

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, label and narrow web inks, toner, inkjet materials, adhesives for packaging, overprint varnishes, specialty coatings, effect inks, security inks and coatings, and organic colorants for inks, plastics, paints, coatings and cosmetics.

Dr. David Hill
Key Personnel: Dr. David C. Hill, CEO and president; and in alphabetical order: Gary Andrzejewski, corporate VP, environmental affairs; Dr. Cynthia Arnold, chief technology officer; Scott Carcillo, chief information officer; Martin Cellérier, director of strategic planning, Sun Chemical Europe; Melvin Cox, SVP, general counsel and corporate secretary; Stuart Foster, VP, operations, North American Inks; William Glass, VP, business development; John Gowlett, corporate VP, European operations, Sun Chemical Europe; Michael Griem, senior VP and president, North American Inks; Greg Lawson, chief procurement officer; Brian Leen, corporate VP and general manager, Performance Pigments; Rudi Lenz, SVP and chief financial officer; Mark Levin, president, North American Commercial Group; Ed Lovas, VP and controller; Richard Martin, global managing director, Coates Screen and Electrographics; John McKeown, SVP, people services; David Meldram, SVP and president, European Inks; Felipe Mellado, corporate VP, marketing and technology, Sun Chemical Europe; Chris Morrissey, corporate VP, marketing; Charles Murray, corporate VP and group managing director, Sun Chemical Europe; Charles Musso, group managing director, Sun Chemical Europe; Chris Parrilli, president, North American Publication Inks; Richard Pettifor, president, North American Packaging Inks; Brad Schrader, VP, strategy and business development; Kevin Smith, corporate VP and group managing director, Sun Chemical Europe.

Number of Employees: Approximately 12,000 worldwide.

Operating Facilities: Sun Chemical has more than 300 manufacturing and service locations worldwide and more than 200 customer in-plant locations in the U.S. alone.

Comments: At a time when the ink industry is becoming more global and the costs of business are increasing, Dainippon Ink & Chemicals (DIC), Sun Chemical ’s parent company, has developed a strategy to gain significant synergies by integrating the management of DIC and Sun Chemical’s operations and more closely coordinating their global management structure.

As a result, at the end of 2005, DIC elected Naoki Tsuji, president, DIC Logistics, and Kazuo Kudo, general manager, corporate strategic planning, to the board of Sun Chemical Corporation. Mr. Tsuji will become vice chairman of the board. Wes Lucas resigned as president, CEO and chairman of Sun Chemical, and DIC appointed Dr. David Hill as CEO and president of Sun Chemical.

Dr. Hill, who previously served as Sun Chemical’s senior vice president, technology and operations, also joined the board of Sun Chemical Corporation. He has 36 years of experience in the chemical industry, the last four with Sun Chemical.

He received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970. During his career he has held many positions of senior responsibility with Fortune 100 companies. His longest tenure was with Allied Signal Corporation, where he was chief technology officer for its chemical and materials businesses as well as president of its Fibers and Specialty Chemicals units.

Because of the fierce competition and the increase in raw material and operational costs, it is a difficult time for ink manufacturers. Dr. Hill sees the challenges ahead, and anticipates that Sun Chemical will succeed. He noted that Sun Chemical did see its total revenues grow in North America during 2005. However, the performance of various print market sectors was uneven, and rapidly rising costs of raw materials and other operational costs put pressure on profitability.

“Sun Chemical was able to implement some price increases and surcharges with the amounts dependent on the market segment and the locations,” Dr. Hill said. “It had been several years since ink manufacturers were able to raise prices, and the limited price increases we instituted simply could not match the rapid run-up in costs. What could have been the best year we’ve seen in some time was tempered by these rising costs.”

He said that scarcity of some materials was another concern, pointing out that some vendors to the ink industry simply abandoned it in favor of other, more profitable markets for their products.

Most print segments experienced some growth in 2005, but it was less than the growth in GDP, Dr. Hill said, with overall growth probably in the 2 percent range. He said that the number of sheetfed printers continued to decline again in 2005, as that segment seeks balance between print demand and capacity.

Kohl & Madden, the commercial inks division of Sun Chemical, introduced Liberty Inks, a VOC-free technology which has received much attention from customers.
Secondary packaging, such as corrugated boxes, continued to take a hit in North America, as growth in imports increased. Many of these imports now utilize packaging produced in their country of origin. With recent moves to more closely link Sun Chemical and DIC, Dr. Hill said he expects Sun Chemical to participate in the development of faster growing ink markets outside North America.

In a key highlight, Sun Chemical finalized the previously announced redemption of its 50 percent share in Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG), a joint venture established in 1998 between Eastman Kodak Company and Sun Chemical. Prior to the completion of the stock redemption, Sun Chemical and Kodak had each owned half of KPG. Cash payments for the redemption total $816.5 million, to be paid over several years, with $316.5 million received at the closing. As part of the agreement, existing sales and distribution arrangements between KPG and Sun Chemical will remain in place.

Sun Chemical was active in R&D, launching a host of new products. Among the product highlights were Kohl & Madden’s Liberty and Marathon sheetfed inks; North American Ink’s PrintEasy heatset series; Performance Pigment’s SunPuro/SunShine pigments; SunJet’s Crystal URW UV-curing white inkjet inks; the company’s alliance with MetalFX; and SolarCat energy curable inks, which were launched in Europe.

As the largest international ink manufacturer, Sun Chemical has been closely monitoring the recent consolidation in the ink industry.

“The size of a company does not necessarily indicate its level of competitiveness,” Dr. Hill said. “As the printing industry continues to encounter difficulty in generating profits, the companies that bring the most value to the industry will be the most successful. We feel that our size, as well as our existing worldwide infrastructure, which for years has been effectively meeting the needs of multinational customers, supplying innovative products, global perspective and local service, will help us in this respect.”

By working more closely with DIC on R&D, manufacturing, sales and raw material sourcing, Sun Chemical can further develop the resources that its customers need.

“Many businesses have become global, and our industry is no different,” Dr. Hill said. “Our customers demand the same products and service regardless of where they produce their products. Similarly, Sun Chemical sources its raw materials on a global basis. As a consequence, it is logical for Sun Chemical and DIC to employ a greater degree of integration and cooperation. By leveraging our scale and coordinating our research and development, manufacturing and sales efforts, the DIC Group can expand its market-leading position.

“Our group’s new strategy aims to meet the needs of multinational and regional customers by employing all of our global resources,” Dr. Hill added. “Opportunities exist for us to capitalize on our global research and development activities, improving our speed to market. This should help give our customers a competitive advantage by making the latest, innovative technology available to them. Even our largest customers appreciate the global perspective Sun Chemical can provide them regarding worldwide trends. To smaller customers, it is essential to have a partner who can help them keep abreast of changes that affect their business. One of Sun Chemical’s strengths has been its ability to provide local product finishing and technical service. We will continue to offer this service, as our customers have made it clear that responsiveness is important to their business.”

In addition to Dr. Hill being named president and CEO, Sun Chemical made a series of important personnel moves in the past year.

Michael Griem was selected as president, North American Inks. Mark Levin was named president, North American Commercial Group, and Chris Parrilli, president, North American Publication Inks. Greg Lawson was named chief procurement officer, while Dr. Rick Joyce was brought in as vice president, technology, North American Inks.

On a sad note, Ron Baker, president of US Ink, passed away March 2, 2006.

Sun Chemical made some key capital improvements during the past year. The company moved its global headquarters to Parsippany, NJ. It announced plans for a new publication gravure plant in Rochdale, UK. SunJet, the digital division of Sun Chemical and leading supplier of inkjet inks, established a full service manufacturing and technical support facility in Amelia, OH. Meanwhile, Sun Chemical launched a transition to the SAP system.

With all of the challenges Sun Chemical and the ink industry in general face, Dr. Hill sees opportunities, particularly by developing innovative products.

“As ink makers, our prospects will closely mirror those of the printing industry,” Dr. Hill said. “At DIC/Sun Chemical, our goal is to provide innovative inks and other products that will ensure the viability of the printing industry. Sun Chemical’s operations date back nearly two centuries and many key ink technologies in use today are products of our research. We expect that stream of innovation to continue.”

2. Flint Group

Administrative Offices
4600 Arrowhead Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2773
Phone: (734) 622-6000
Fax: (734) 622-6131

Sales: $2.7 billion worldwide. North American Sales: $950 million (Ink World estimate).

Major Products: Cold and heatset web offset, sheetfed offset, flexographic, gravure, UV/EB inks and coatings for publication, news, package and commercial applications. Inkjet inks and equipment. A wide range of inks for narrow web tag and label applications. Photopolymer plates for flexographic, gravure and letterpress applications. Advanced and conductive inks for radio frequency identification (RFID), smart/active labels and other printed electronics applications. Dry, flushed and presscake pigments, aqueous dispersions varnishes and additives for the colorant market.

Dave Frescoln
Key Personnel: Howard Poulson, non-executive chairman; Peter Koivula, vice chairman; Leonard D. (Dave) Frescoln, CEO; Michael J. Gannon, president and COO; Michael J. Bissell, executive VP and CFO; Dr. Dirk Aulbert, president, Flint Group Europe; Bill Miller, president, Flint Group North America; Damian Johnson, president, Flint Group India/Pacific; Jerko E. Rendic, president, Flint Group Latin America; Henry Leong, president, Flint Group Asia; Ewald Draaijer, president, XSYS Print Solutions (narrow web inks); Dr. Thomas Telser, president, Flint Group Printing Plates; Dr. Kenneth D. Stack, president, Jetrion LLC; Craig Foster, president, Flint Group Pigments; Donald G. Barnowski, VP, CIO; Rita A. Conrad, VP, corporate communications; Ron S. Muawad, VP, corporate controller.

Number of Employees: Approximately 8,000 worldwide.

Comments: 2005 was a time of change for the Flint Group. The two most significant events were the passing of H. Howard Flint II in May and, last fall, the acquisition of Flint Ink by German-based XSYS Print Solutions, which marked the end of 75 years of family ownership for the company.

The subsequent creation of Flint Group has led to a stronger, global supplier to the graphic, converting and colorant industries with revenues of approximately $2.7 billion in 2005. The new company has approximately 8,000 employees in 150 sites in 35 countries, and will rank as the number one or number two supplier in every major region it serves.

Market segment strength varies from region to region, but the two companies complement one another in both product lines and geography. The addition of K&E sheetfed inks, printing plates and narrow web businesses expand the portfolio of products available to North American customers, while the well-established North American customer base provides new opportunities for those business units to expand in this region.

The consolidation with XSYS Print Solutions is proceeding well, according to company leaders. In North America, there was little overlap, but access to K&E sheetfed and the photopolymer plate product lines bring strength to the product portfolio. The greatest overlap was in Europe, and integration projects there are moving ahead according to plan. Most will be finished in the third quarter this year.

In all regions, the company is pursuing a dual strategy of consolidation and decentralization. Plant consolidations are focusing manufacturing activities on single product lines.

The result is to reduce manufacturing costs while improving quality and consistency. R&D, technical and sales support are being decentralized to be able to meet local demands and have short response time.

Raw materials price increases were a major factor in 2005, particularly in petroleum derivatives. The rise in the price of oil coupled with refinement constraints made even more severe by hurricane damage resulted in increases of up to 30 percent on some materials. Capacity continued to be an issue, with refiners choosing to focus on products that are both high volume and high return.         

For the first time in a number of years, the company was able to implement price increases successfully in nearly every market segment. Overall, sales volumes were up, which is an encouraging sign after several flat years.

Flint Group leaders note that customers are cautiously optimistic about the coming year, although printing is unlikely to ever return to where it was a decade ago. The advent of electronic media and digital printing has changed the face of conventional printing forever. At the same time, the company is seeing increased volumes, which is a positive sign, and digital is becoming another integrated segment of the printing market as opposed to eliminating conventional printing altogether.

There were major leadership promotions in the past year. Dave Frescoln was named CEO of Flint Group, and Mike Gannon was named president and COO. Howard Poulson, Peter Koivula and Mike Bissell, formerly of XSYS Print Solutions, joined the management team of Flint Group. Craig Foster was named president, Flint Group Pigments, and Dr. Dirk Aulbert was named president, Flint Group Europe.

Other highlights included the introduction of Arrowlith UV coldset inks, which were well received by printers. Construction on a liquid packaging ink plant was begun in Guangzhou, China and the plant is expected to be operational by mid-year 2006. Jetrion introduced its Jetrion 3025, a UV-cured drop-on-demand printing technology that delivers great flexibility and print quality for label production on all types of materials, including those subjected to harsh environments. Flint Ink Foundation and employees raised $230,000 for UNICEF tsunami relief efforts, and participated in a Habitat for Humanity project near Ann Arbor, MI.

Jetrion continues to introduce new inkjet inks and equipment that meet specific needs of the market place. Jetrion was recently recognized for its environmentally sound inkjet inks. The merger is beneficial for Jetrion in that the narrow web inks business provides entree to many new customers around the world. Jetrion’s hybrid approach to the market – marrying inkjet technology with existing and new web presses – will be strengthened, thus allowing the company to sell its market-leading 3025 Inkjet Printing System into a very large customer base.

Driven by the demands of the triple-digit growth it has experienced in each of its first three years, Jetrion has begun moving its operations its new headquarters in Ypsilanti, MI. The new facility will provide Jetrion with 35,000 square feet of floor area. Much of the new space will be used to accommodate a major expansion of Jetrion’s inkjet ink manufacturing capacity. All of the company’s other operations, including hardware, integration, R&D, sales and administration, will also eventually be located in the facility.

As for 2006, Flint Group leaders believe that most of the integration activities will be completed and the new group will be in a position to take full advantage of the synergies that were gained with the acquisition and merger. The company’s strategy of combining global capabilities and local service should serve customers well, whether they themselves are large international organizations or small, local shops. The advantages of best practice implementation, product optimization and consolidate procurement should come to fruition and provide benefits to customers and the company alike.

3. INX International Ink Co.

150 N. Martingale Suite 700
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: (630) 382-1800
Fax: (847) 969-9758

Sales: $300 million.

Major Products: A full line of ink and coatings solutions technology for packaging, commercial print applications, including metal decorating, flexographic, gravure, web offset, lamination, corrugated, sheetfed, digital and UV/EB inks and coatings.

Rick Clendenning

Bryce Kristo
Key Personnel: Hiroshi Ota, chairman; Rick Clendenning, president and CEO; Bryce Kristo, CFO, senior VP general affairs; Yasuhiro Hashimoto, CTO, senior VP product development; George Polasik, COO, senior VP operations; Charles Sagert, senior VP, sales; Joseph Cichon, senior VP, manufacturing technology; Charles Weinholzer, senior VP, liquid division; Dave Waller, VP, director national accounts/rigid packaging; Jonathan Ellaby, VP, international division; Janet Beasley, VP, quality systems; Rick Westrom, VP, strategic global sourcing.

Number of Employees: Approximately 1,225.

Operating Facilities: Approximately 30 locations and 160 in-plants throughout North America. Subsidiaries: INX International U.K., Manchester, England; INX International France, Bretigny, France. Sister company: Triangle Digital INX. Parent company: Sakata Inx, Osaka, Japan.

Comments: INX International Ink Company had a successful 2005, with overall growth despite the challenges faced by every ink manufacturer.

“Despite the loss of some fairly big business early in the year, we came back and not only recovered that, but grew sales on top of that,” said Rick Clendenning, president and CEO. “We exceeded our sales plan significantly. The other accomplishment for the year was we did a great deal of work in 2005 to put us in good shape for having a great year in 2006.”

A major highlight occurred Feb. 17, when Sakata Inx, INX International Ink’s parent company, announced an agreement with California-based Triangle Digital LLC, forming Triangle Digital INX Co. (TDI) to offer digital inks and application services to customers throughout the world in conjunction with INX International Ink Co. Sakata Inx is strong in digital ink technologies, but INX International had yet to enter the inkjet ink market prior to this acquisition.

Founded in 2002 as a subsidiary of Triangle Coatings, Triangle Digital LLC specializes in outdoor durable pigment-based superwide and wide format digital inks and protective clear coatings, and is a leading global supplier of inkjet products with a network of more than 100 distributors globally.    

“The greatest highlight was our investment into Triangle Digital INX, which was going on in 2005 but came to fruition in 2006,” said Bryce Kristo, CFO, senior vice president, general affairs. “This is one of the most exciting events our company has seen in the past decade.”

The constant struggle to maintain a healthy profit in the face of higher raw material and operational costs remains a challenge.

“The year was one of the most challenging in recent years due to the cost of oil and its impact on raw materials and freight,” Mr. Kristo said. “Despite these unprecedented increases, the company managed to execute some modest rebalancing among our production facilities and earn a reasonable profit.”

“Compared to the rest of the 2005 printing ink market, we had an extremely successful year as we grew our market share in several strategic market segments,” said Charles Sagert, senior vice president of sales. “2005 compared to other years, our profits were a disappointment as raw material costs eroded our sales success. Clearly our sustained growth in a very unstable economy was the highlight of the year.”

Because of the cost pressures INX International Ink faced, the company issued a price increase of 5 to 10 percent as of Dec. 1. The company’s leaders noted that the increases, which were desperately needed, held up.

“We had to be successful in this area,” said Mr. Clendenning. “It was absolutely essential.”

“The biggest highlight was the industry wide move for price increases. As an industry this was long overdue,” Mr. Kristo added.

The company also worked on controlling its costs to help keep its price increase to a minimum. To that end, INX International Ink promoted Rick Westrom to improve its global sourcing efforts.

“At the beginning of 2006, our vice president of strategic sourcing, Rick Westrom, was promoted and will be working with and assisting our worldwide network of companies as he improves our global sourcing efforts in the raw material and equipment areas,” Mr. Clendenning said.

Mr. Clendenning and Mr. Kristo said the company’s cost containment initiatives are indeed paying off.

“As we continually strive to improve our processes, we very successful in moving or transferring a number of our strategic product lines into other more efficient manufacturing sites within our company,” Mr. Clendenning said.

“We are encouraged due to our rebalancing efforts to make us more flexible and cost effective combined with the new pricing,” Mr. Kristo said. “If raw materials remain stable, we are in a position to have a very good year.”

Mr. Sagert and Mr. Kristo said that INX International Ink saw its strongest growth in packaging, although sheetfed and metal deco also remained strong.

“Packaging, as it has historically, was our leader in terms of sales growth; however it was pleasing to see the sheetfed commercial segment grow in 2005, which was a shift from years past,” Mr. Sagert said.

“Our metal deco and liquid packaging markets remained successful despite the large increases in solvent prices,” Mr. Kristo added.

Mr. Sagert noted that customers are cautiously optimistic about the coming year.

“I would say our customers are indeed optimistic, however, extremely cautious as they witnessed first hand the effects natural disasters and global unrest have on the graphic arts community,” Mr. Sagert said.

In May 2004, INX International Ink acquired Holliday Encres, a French-based liquid ink specialist, which was an ideal fit as it allowed INX to follow its customers to Europe. The company is seeing dividends from that acquisition.

“Our European infrastructure is improving and the overall total performance in Europe was good in 2005,” Mr. Clendenning said. “ As we reach out across Europe, our customer base knows INX is there in a bigger way and will continue growing.”

Mr. Kristo noted that the company continues to expand its global presence, both in terms of product lines and relationships.

“We continue to branch out in product line and leverage our global relationships to increase sales activity,” Mr. Kristo said.

Mr. Clendenning said that INX International Ink is perfectly positioned to have an excellent 2006.

“We are in good shape as we enter 2006,” Mr. Clendenning concluded. “The year has started off strong and we don’t see it slowing down. The excitement about our new digital ink company, Triangle Digital INX, has sent energy throughout our company like you won’t believe. We are all looking forward to working with our new family to help to continue to grow their business.”

4. Chemical Research/ Technology, Division of Quad/Graphics

1951 Constitution Ave.
Hartford, WI 53027
Phone: (262) 673-1400
Fax: (262) 673-1459

Sales: $235 million (Ink World estimate).

Major Products: Offset and gravure inks.

Key Personnel: Tim Hofstetter, president; Greg Laszewski, offset operations manager; Randy Maas, gravure operations manager; Sunil Rao, technical director.

Number of Employees: 83.

Operating Facilities: Lomira, WI; Oklahoma City, OK; Martinsburg, WV; Greenfield, IA; Hartford, WI.

Comments: From its humble beginnings in 1971 to its rise as the third-largest printer in the U.S., the success of Quad/Graphics Inc. has become legendary. Quad/Graphics’ sales are estimated at more than $2 billion annually, and the company has contracts with many of the leading publications. A specialist in offset and gravure, the company’s introduction of its Jackrabbit gravure presses has made Quad/Graphics the technology leader in the gravure field.

To meet its ink requirements, Quad/Graphics formed its Chemical Research/Technology (CR/T) division in 1982. CR/T supplies the company’s offset and gravure ink needs, producing more than 120 million pounds of ink annually, and develops the new products that maintain Quad/Graphics’ leadership in the printing industry.

As is the case throughout the ink industry, CR/T did face changes from higher raw material and operational costs.

“2005 was a very difficult year due to raw material price increases and utility price increases,” said Greg Laszewski, offset operations manager for CR/T.

In 2005, CR/T R&D continued to produce sophisticated new inks for Quad/Graphics, developing a glow-in-the-dark ink for heatset offset applications and metallic and fluorescent inks.

5. Siegwerk Ink Packaging

3535 SW 56th St.
Des Moines, IA 53021
Phone: (515) 471-2100 or
(800) 728-8200
Fax: (515) 471-2201

Siegwerk Ink Publication

P.O. Box 10064
Lynchburg, VA 24506
Phone: (434) 847-9033
Fax: (434) 847-0910

Total North American Sales: $167 million.

Siegwerk Ink Packaging Major Products: 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, labels, tobacco and folding carton using flexo, rotogravure and offset printing.

Dan McDowell
Key Personnel: Dan McDowell, president; Jim Ross, head of Flexible Packaging Business Unit; Peter Mulheran, head of Paper, Plastics, & Label (PPL) Packaging Business Unit; Dr. Lothar Schaffeler, director of technology – Flexible Packaging; Manuel Rivas, director of technology – PPL Packaging; Sara Eason, director of manufacturing; Jyoti Gidvani, director of purchasing; Jim Stoelk, director of corporate services.

Number of Employees: 500 (U.S., Canada, Mexico and Central America).

Operating Facilities: Des Moines, IA – NAFTA headquarters and two manufacturing locations; Spartanburg, SC; Neenah, WI; Drums, PA; King of Prussia, PA; Brooklyn Park, MN; Vacaville, CA; Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada; Prescott, Ontario, Canada; Oakville, Ontario, Canada; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Toluca, Mexico; Guadalajara, Mexico; Mexico City, Mexico; Queretaro, Mexico; Guatemala City, Guatemala; San Salvador, El Salvador.

Comments: In a major move that strengthens Siegwerk Group’s position in the growing packaging market, Siegwerk acquired SICPA’s Packaging Ink Division in June 2005. With this move, Siegwerk Ink Packaging – NAFTA adds SICPA – North America, SICPA – Mexico, and SICPA – Central America. Siegwerk Ink is currently the third largest global supplier of inks and coatings for packaging applications and second largest supplier of solvent-based flexible packaging inks in North America.

The acquisition of SICPA’s Packaging Ink Division has broadened its markets to include narrow web labels, tobacco inks and coatings, and energy curable applications.

For Siegwerk Ink Packaging, the acquisition of SICPA’s Packaging Ink Division brings exciting new opportunities.

“2005 was a year of change and adaptation for Siegwerk Ink Packaging,” said Dan McDowell, president of Siegwerk Ink Packaging. “The acquisition of SICPA’s Packaging Ink Division was the greatest highlight of Siegwerk’s year. This opportunity has enabled Siegwerk to service customers in 36 countries worldwide as well as offer an expanded product portfolio.

“The acquisition of SICPA’s Packaging Ink Division has changed the global makeup of Siegwerk as a whole,” Mr. McDowell added. “New markets have been added to Siegwerk’s traditionally strong flexible packaging segment. The integration of the two companies has challenged the adaptability of Siegwerk personnel to make these changes in the most cost effective manner while keeping customers’ needs at the forefront. Continued pressure on raw material costs has allocated significant attention to cost management.”

The dramatic increases in raw material and operational costs impacted margins in the ink industry. To help offset these higher costs, Siegwerk Ink Packaging announced a price increase of 8 to 12 percent, dependent upon market segment and product mix, on all of its ink and coating products effective Nov. 1, 2005. In addition, Siegwerk Ink applied surcharges associated with energy and freight where appropriate. The company also continued to invest in automated manufacturing processes.

“Siegwerk Ink Packaging has successfully implemented a price increase to our customers to partially offset our margin erosion,” Mr. McDowell said. “While this increase does not cover the entire impact of the cost increases we are experiencing, we feel that this action is absolutely necessary to ensure that Siegwerk Ink continues to provide the leading edge product technology and unparalleled point-of-use service that our customers have come to expect. Additional focus on cost management and reduction is an ongoing necessity.”

Overall, 2005 was a year of growth for Siegwerk Ink Packaging, with key markets showing particular strength and new segments emerging.

“Siegwerk Ink Packaging – NAFTA had the most success in the retort pouch, specialty ink and coating, and energy curable market segments,” Mr. McDowell said. “There continued to be success in the traditional flexible packaging and narrow web labels markets.

“With the acquisition of SICPA’s Packaging Ink Division, there have been numerous new products brought to the Siegwerk portfolio and numerous personnel moves to better serve the new customer base,” Mr. McDowell said.

Mr. McDowell believes that these challenging times showcase a company’s capabilities, and he knows that Siegwerk Ink Packaging will succeed.

“We look to 2006 with a lot of optimism,” Mr. McDowell concluded. “Continued pressure on raw materials within our customer base has highlighted an ink company’s ability to sell value. This fits in perfectly with our market strategy.”

Siegwerk Ink Publication

Major Products: Solvent-based gravure inks for publication.

Key Personnel: Dr. Ansgar Nonn, president; Dr. Juergen Roth, executive VP and general manager; Mark Ferrell, customer service.

Number of Employees: 20.

Operating Facilities: Lynchburg, VA.

Comments: Siegwerk Group is a worldwide leader in the field of publication gravure ink for magazines and catalogs. Led by Dr. Ansgar Nonn, Siegwerk Group’s worldwide president of the company’s print media division, Siegwerk Ink Publication had a solid year in 2005, despite the highly competitive nature of the market.

6. Hostmann-Steinberg

12 Shaftsbury Lane
Brampton, Ontario L6T 3X7
Phone: (905) 793-9970
Fax: (905) 793-5368


2850 Festival Dr.
Kankakee, IL 60901
Phone: (815) 929-9293
Fax: (815) 929-0412

Sales: $160 million (Ink World estimate)

Major Products: Heatset, sheetfed, coldset, UV and EB, forms and flexo inks; aqueous and UV coatings; pigments, flushes and resins.

Winfried Gleue
Key Personnel: Winfried Gleue, president and CEO; Dhaval Nanavati, VP operations; John Griffin, Ed Frois, Kevin McNally and Vimal Mehra, VP sales and marketing; Nathan Mahadevan, CFO.

Number of Employees: 430.

Operational Facilities: Mother plants in Kankakee, IL and Toronto, Canada, and 22 branch facilities coast to coast.

Comments: It was a milestone year for Hostmann-Steinberg, the North American subsidiary of Munich, Germany-based Huber Group. On Oct. 25, Huber Group acquired a controlling share interest in Micro Inks, Vapi, India, As a result, Hostmann-Steinberg merged its North American operations with Micro Inks’ Kankakee, IL-based U.S. subsidiary, which was particularly strong in heatset, coldset and sheetfed inks and raw materials. It’s a strong fit, as Hostmann-Steinberg itself is an industry leader in sheetfed and heatset inks.

The acquisition of Micro Inks also provides the Huber Group with an excellent source of pigments, resins and additives, thus providing the company with backward integration ensuring uninterrupted supply of vital raw materials.

For Winfried Gleue, Hostmann-Steinberg’s president and CEO, the addition of Micro Inks was definitely the brightest spot of the past year.

“The acquisition of the majority share holding in Micro by the Huber Group has certainly been a highlight,” Mr. Gleue said. “The integration of our North American operations and formation of a mutual team are coming along very well with the now combined ink business operating under the Hostmann-Steinberg and the raw material division under the Micro brand.”

On the ink side, Hostmann-Steinberg had a good year in its core markets.

“We continued growing in our core markets of web heatset inks and sheetfed Inks,” Mr. Gleue said. “Ink volumes in key printing segments have declined over the last few years. Lately we have seen a gradual recovery in the industry.”

Hostmann-Steinberg also made inroads in new segments, as the company introduced new product lines in the past year.

“We introduced water-based flexographic inks as well as new fountain solution concentrates out of North American production early in the year,” Mr. Gleue said. “Both segments are developing according to expectations.”

Mr. Gleue is looking forward to the new opportunities that the addition of Micro Inks provides the company.

“With the addition of Micro’s manufacturing plant in Kankakee, we gained substantial additional production capacity for both web heatset and web coldset inks which increases our up to now limited capabilities of supplying larger volumes of these products to the Canadian, U.S. and Mexican markets,” Mr. Gleue said. “The integration and reorganization of our North American operations and organization provides synergy opportunities. All in all, we are excited about the added abilities and opportunities for our North American business and expect to continue growing.”

7. DuPont Ink Jet

Barley Mill Plaza, P30/2367
P.O. Box 80030
Wilmington, DE 19880-0030
Phone: (877) 234-1794;
(302) 992-4264
Fax: (302) 892-5609

Sales: $150 million (Ink World estimate)

Major Products: Digital inks and digital printing systems.

Key Personnel: Richard J. Baird, vice president; Colin M. Davie, global sales and marketing manager; Kathleen J. Hall, business director – digital printing systems; Douglas A. Smith, business manager – DuPont Specialty Colorants & Additives.

Number of Employees: More than 300 worldwide.

Key Locations: Worldwide operations; in the U.S., R&D facilities in Wilmington, DE and Philadelphia, PA; manufacturing plants in Iowa, New York and Pennsylvania. Customer service and warehousing in Asia, Europe and North America.

Comments: A business unit of DuPont Performance Coatings, DuPont Ink Jet is the leading inkjet ink manufacturer worldwide. The company’s strengths are in the desktop printing, textile inkjet printing and wide format markets.

DuPont Ink Jet is made up of two business segments: inkjet inks and digital printing systems. Its inkjet inks business includes desktop printers, where DuPont Ink Jet is the leading manufacturer of ink, supplying many of the leading home printer OEMs.

DuPont Ink Jet also manufactures inks for the wide format market. The company has developed DuPont Fusion aqueous pigment-based and dye-based inks. DuPont Fusion’s pigmented inks are UV and water-resistant, and are ideal for outdoor applications, while the dye-based inks are used for displays and photography.

On the system side, the company has created its DuPont Artistri product portfolio for the textile market. The Artistri system includes equipment, software and inks, which come in pigment, acid dye, disperse dye or reactive dye. DuPont has seen tremendous growth in this segment, installing new systems and signing new distribution agreements worldwide during the past year.

8. Wikoff Color Corporation

1886 Merritt Road
Fort Mill, SC 29715
Phone: (803) 548-2210
Fax: (803) 548-5728

Sales: $118 million (Ink World estimate).

Phil Lambert
Major Products: Sheetfed and web offset inks, solvent- and water-based flexo and gravure inks, energy-curable inks and coatings, overprint varnish and aqueous coatings.

Key Personnel: Phil Lambert, president and CEO; Daryl Collins, VP of national sales and regional operations; Martin Hambrock, VP of Canadian operations; Don Duncan, director of R&D; Ron Zavodny, director of purchasing; Buck Rorie, VP of finance and administration.

Number of Employees: 600.

Operating Facilities: 29 manufacturing plants and four sales/service centers. Headquarters and research and development facilities are located in Fort Mill, SC.

Comments: For the second consecutive year, Wikoff Color has made a major move, acquiring Frontier Printing Inks, a Toronto, Canada-based flexible packaging ink specialist. The addition of Frontier provides Wikoff Color with strong opportunities for growth in Canada as well as excellent technologies for the flexible packaging market.

“The acquisition of Frontier is going to be very good for our company,” said Phil Lambert, Wikoff Color’s president and CEO. “We have expanded our capabilities and added a good group of people to our team. We’re just starting to benefit from opportunities in the flexible packaging market in the U.S., and we’re expecting to realize sales benefits in both the U.S. and Canada during the next year or two from sales of our expanded line of products.”

Mr. Lambert said that Martin Hambrock, former president of Frontier Printing Ink, is key to the successful merger of the two companies.

“Martin is a very capable leader and a person of integrity,” Mr. Lambert said, “and we’re very pleased with the support and direction he is giving us. Martin is very loyal to his people, and he appreciated the fact that we are an employee-owned company when he made the decision to sell to Wikoff.”

With the addition of Frontier, Wikoff Color’s sales increased 25 percent in 2005. However, the company’s pre-acquisition sales were up significantly, which is excellent news for Wikoff Color.

“Our sales were up 25 percent due to acquisitions, but our internal growth was 8 percent, which is the first time we’ve had significant growth in our existing business in a few years,” Mr. Lambert said. “Our growth has been fairly widespread. We saw some growth in sheetfed, water-based flexo and energy-curable inks. We have gained some new business, and many of our customers are busier.”

With the addition of Frontier, Wikoff Color has enhanced its emphasis on the growing flexible packaging market. Last year, the acquisition of Merit Ink & Coating, Alpharetta, GA, brought Wikoff Color new technologies for flexible packaging and security inks as well as specialty inks and coatings. Merit was the ink and coatings supplier for Scientific Games International, the world’s largest manufacturer of scratch-off lottery tickets, and Wikoff continues to supply this customer.

“The Merit acquisition was a strong addition to our company,” Mr. Lambert said. “We picked up many good people and added technology for flexible packaging. One of our challenges is coordinating our fluid ink R&D efforts and sharing our technologies between Fort Mill, Alpharetta and Toronto.”

Wikoff Color’s other 2004 acquisition was Century Color, a high quality sheetfed and web offset ink manufacturer with sales in the northeastern U.S., and that acquisition continues to do well.

“We were able to merge our operation in Concord, NH and the former Century operation in Lowell, MA, into a new branch in Hudson, NH,” Mr. Lambert said. “This gives us a good base of business in New England and a deep, capable team in this combined operation.”

Raw material prices were a challenge for the ink industry, and Wikoff Color was no exception.

“Our big concern is declining profit due to lower margins and higher raw material costs,” Mr. Lambert said. “While our sales were up significantly in 2005, our profits were flat. Large raw material cost increases have subsided, and we’re hoping to gain back some ground we lost in 2005 during the second half of 2006.

“We passed some price increases through, but we have not covered all of our increased costs,” he added. “No one is happy about price increases, but our customers realize that we have gone through severe material cost increases, and they understand the necessity of our price increases.”

9. Toyo Ink International, Inc.

910 Sylvan Ave.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
Phone: (800) 227-7040
Fax: (201) 569-2455

Toyo Ink America, LLC

710 Belden Ave.
Addison, IL 60101
Phone: (630) 930-5100
Fax: (630) 628-1759

Sales: $105 million.

Major Products: Sheetfed and web offset inks; UV and EB inks; conventional and UV waterless offset; solvent- and water-based gravure inks; specialty coatings; digital inks; toner; and inkjet inks. Toyo Ink America LLC manufactures offset inks, while LioChem, Inc., Conyers, GA, manufactures liquid inks, specialty coatings, colorants and adhesives.

Key Personnel: Toyo Ink International: Fusao Ito, president; John Higgins, CFO. Toyo Ink America: Fusao Ito, president/CEO; John Copeland, executive VP/COO; James F. MacNeill, VP, CFO; Isao Kameoka, VP operations/technical; Mike Keegan, VP, sales; LioChem: Osamu Sato, president; Yasuo Koga, executive VP/GM, colorants division; Terry Hall, GM, gravure division.

Number of Employees: 250.

Operating Facilities: Englewood Cliffs, NJ; Addison, IL; Kennesaw, GA; Conyers, GA; Cypress, CA; Vista, CA; Clifton, NJ.

Comments: With products ranging from commercial sheetfed inks and plastic colorants to materials for flat screen televisions and RFID, Toyo Ink America has created a diverse product portfolio. The company prides itself on quality and service to differentiate itself from its competition, and its excellent results in 2005 show its strength.

“We had an excellent year in 2005,” said Tak O’Haru, president of Toyo Ink America. “Our sheetfed ink and our UV ink businesses each grew more than 10 percent over the previous year. I strongly believe it was due to our products, service and sales efforts. We opened a lot of new accounts through direct sales and our distribution channels, and we are going into the packaging market and especially the high-end segments, such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and value-added food packaging. These trends were very favorable to us. High productivity equipment requires consistent high quality consumables to work best, and printers realize that the cost of ink is not considerable compared to total production cost, such as press downtime and paper waste.

“The fact that our competition is changing is favorable for us,” Mr. O’Haru added. “Our customers are watching the changes in the industry and are deciding whom they want to partner with, and as a result, we are steadily growing.”

Toyo Ink’s LioChem business, which focuses on plastic colorants and liquid inks, has been another area of strong growth.

“LioChem’s liquid ink business is stable, while its plastic colorants business is growing tremendously,” Mr. O’Haru said.

The flat screen TV business has prospered for Toyo Ink. “Our business for manufacturing inks and coatings for flat screen TVs is going quite well,” Mr. O’Haru said. “The flat screen materials market is a global focus for us. Larger global companies have been with us from the beginning.”

RFID offers another opportunity for Toyo Ink.

“Conductive inks such as energy curable ink for RFID use is one of the new additions for us,” Mr. O’Haru said. “People are really waiting for a material practically working well for new applications, and our R&D team is working very hard on it.”

Toyo Ink was able to absorb some of the price increases it faced due to good planning, but there needs to be price adjustments.    

“In terms of raw material pricing, Toyo Ink globally realized significant increases,” Mr. O’Haru said. “Toyo Ink made very wise investments in the newest engineering technologies, which absorbed some of our price increases, but they are continuously coming. Some of it we need to transfer to the market.”

Toyo Ink has been active in R&D, coming up with its new HyPlus 100, which it launched to great interest at Print 05, as well as its new Kaleido 4-color process ink.

“Sales of our high solid zero-VOC HyPlus 100 have really taken off after Print 05,” Mr. O’Haru said. “We are seeing tremendous sales for that product. At IPEX, we are introducing Kaleido, a 4-color process ink that offers a larger color gamut closer to RGB without using fluorescent pigments.”

There are changes at Toyo Ink America. Mr. O’Haru, Toyo Ink America’s leader since 1996, has been reassigned to headquarters in Japan, where he will take on new responsibilities as a member of Toyo Ink’s global strategic management team.

The new senior management team of Toyo Ink America is led by Fusao Ito, who will continue as president of Toyo Ink International Corporation and assume the role of president of Toyo Ink America.

John Copeland has been promoted to executive vice president/COO, and will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company. Jim MacNeill will continue as vice president/CFO. Mike Keegan will continue as vice president of sales, and Isao Kameoka has been promoted to vice president of operations/technical.

Mr. O’Haru believes there are great opportunities ahead for Toyo Ink America.

“We closed January and February with 15 percent gain in sales, and our product marketing and sales strategy is really taking off,” he said. “People are looking for something different. The printing market is really tough out there, and you have to offer something that is different and better. Ink can make a big difference, and that is the route we are taking.”

10. Central Ink Corporation

1100 N. Harvester Road
West Chicago, IL 60185
Phone: (630) 231-6500
Fax: (630) 231-6554
Sales: $75 million.

Major Products: Web offset heatset, coldset, sheetfed and UV/EB inks. CIC is also one of the largest blanket converters in the Midwest.

Key Personnel: Richard Breen, president and CEO; Gregg Dahleen, VP of sales and marketing; Doug Anderson, VP of operations; Mary Dickey, CFO; Jennifer Kirkby, director of sales and marketing.

Number of Employees: 160.

Operating Facilities: West Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN; Milwaukee, WI; Carlisle, PA; Cleveland, OH; Las Vegas, NV; Toronto, Canada.

Comments: For Central Ink Corporation, the heatset ink market is a core business, and ink pricing remains extremely competitive. As a result, Central had a challenging year in 2005, as both sales and margins declined.

“We were able to hold volume for 2005. Unfortunately, however, we continued to see margins decline due largely to the unprecedented raw material increases we experienced,” said Gregg Dahleen, vice president of sales and marketing for Central.

The most serious problem facing the heatset ink industry is that there is too much capacity, and with that, pricing suffers.

“The heatset ink industry is not in a particularly good state,” Mr. Dahleen said. “Several companies have spent the last few years concentrating on market share, and with the addition of foreign competition and decreased print demand, we find ourselves trying to satisfy a market that is oversaturated.

“In the fourth quarter we were able to get a price increase, but that just made up for the raw material increases for Q4,” Mr. Dahleen said. “It did not make up for the sizable price increases we had already experienced in the first three quarters of the year.

“From our standpoint, the main area of concentration is to be as efficient in processing and distribution as we can be,” Mr. Dahleen said. “As an example, the addition of our Las Vegas plant is helping us decrease both distribution and inventory costs.”

Central Ink’s decisions to diversify its product line into UV and nationalize its coldset business have been bright spots for the company.

“Our product diversification is working, and we need to keep moving forward,” Mr. Dahleen said. “UV and coldset are strong areas for us. We grew more than 100 percent in UV last year.”

Despite all of his concerns, Mr. Dahleen feels there is hope for 2006, particularly if printers find their business improving. He is also excited about Central’s continued expansion plans.

“I am cautiously optimistic about 2006,” Mr. Dahleen said. “The printing industry seems to be rebounding, impression counts are up and our customers are confident that 2006 will surpass 2005. There seems to be a glimmer of hope.”

10. Markem Corporation

150 Congress St.
Keene, NH 03431
Phone: (603) 352-1130
Fax: (603) 357-5871

Aellora Digital

15 Tiffin St.
P. O. Box 583
Keene, NH 03431
Phone: (603) 357-1715
Fax: (603) 357-3665

Sales: $75 million in inks (Ink World estimate).

Major Products: Markem Corporation is a world leader in innovative and reliable product identification solutions for the world’s leading companies. Solutions include equipment, software, supplies and services for industries including food and beverage, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and electronics. Markem is also on the leading edge of RFID implementation. The company’s products include laser, thermal transfer, piezo inkjet and print and apply printers, software, supplies and services, which enable manufacturers to automate and facilitate coding, marking and labeling functions.

Aellora Digital’s SureFire 65 Digital Print Engines, ideal for jetting high performance hybrid UV-curable white and color jetting inks, is a bright spot for the company.
Key Personnel: Thomas P. Putnam, chairman, Markem Corporation; James A. Putnam, president, Markem Corporation; Jeffrey B. Miller, president, Markem Solutions; Dr. Michael D. Stoudt, president, Aellora Digital, a Markem company.

Number of Employees: 1,100.

Operating Facilities: Markem operates from headquarters in Keene, NH, and has additional development and manufacturing facilities in San Diego, CA and Nottingham, UK. Markem has subsidiaries in 17 countries, including Canada, China, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland and Uruguay. Markem also has agents and representatives in more than 40 other countries around the world.

Comments: Markem Corporation is one of the world’s leading providers of marking and coding systems designed to meet all the product identification needs of industrial and distribution companies, from individual products to primary packages, cases and pallets, including date and production codes, product identification, bar codes, logos and graphics and real time codes.

Markem systems incorporate the latest digital-to-print technologies to support the marking and coding needs of the food, beverage, personal care products, pharmaceutical and electronics industries, among others. Recognizing the potential of inkjet coding and marking, Markem acquired Spectra, Inc., now the leading piezo inkjet printhead manufacturer, in 1996.

Markem has long been active in inkjet, having first begun its efforts 17 years ago. In 2003, Markem established Aellora Digital to provide digital chemistries, drop-on-demand inkjet systems and services for commercial, graphic and select other digital printing, imaging and dispensing applications.

For both Markem and Aellora Digital, 2005 was another strong year.

“Markem had a strong year operationally and Aellora is on a rapid growth path,” said Dr. Michael D. Stoudt, president of Aellora Digital.

“It seems more and more customers are at the end of their assessment stage for digital technology and beginning to get serious about implementing a digital strategy,” Dr. Stoudt said. “This is particularly true for screen printing and pad printing applications.”

Dr. Stoudt said that as customers learn about digital, the more enthusiasm they have for the possibilities.

“Customers always have a bit of a learning curve when switching technologies, but once they understand the new technology, comfort level and productivity increase,” Dr. Stoudt said.

For Aellora Digital, introductions of new products such as the SureFire 65 print engine and the company’s turnkey flatbed printer were among the bright spots from the past year.

The SureFire 65 Digital Print Engines is ideal for jetting high performance hybrid UV-curable white and color jetting inks. These easy-to-integrate piezo drop-on-demand inkjet print engines are currently offered in seven different print configurations. The SureFire 65 prints high resolution images on a wide variety of materials for high productivity, and can easily be integrated to handle narrow, small and large format applications. It prints a 600x600 dpi image at up to 300 square feet per hour or linear print speeds of up to 33 inches per second.

The SureFire TKMP 1000 Small Format Digital Printing Systems jets high performance hybrid UV-curable white and color jetting inks on smaller objects.

These fully integrated turnkey print systems are designed for industrial use offering high print outputs for a broad range of substrate types and thicknesses, and are ideal for screen and pad printers searching for a digital solution.

“The highlights for 2005 were the presentation of our SureFire 65 (6-array) print engine and announcing our turnkey flatbed printer at SGIA Digital Expo in December at Phoenix,” Dr. Stoudt said. “Both products were favorably received by end-users, OEMs and distributors.”

Dr. Stoudt believes that 2006 brings new opportunities for Markem and Aellora Digital.

“Markem will continue to concentrate on bringing more products to their target market of package marking and coding,” he said. “Extension of their portfolio to RFID solutions and traceability through the distribution channel will expand their value proposition to their current customer base. Aellora’s launch of the TKMP 1000, our small format 1 meter X 1meter flatbed printer with the SureFire 65, will surely keep us very busy. We intend to launch both in U.S. and Europe through our own direct sales force, which will expand, and through distributors. We will also launch this platform of products in Europe as well, with the addition of sales channel beginning in the third quarter.”

10. Fujifilm Sericol USA, Inc.

1101 W. Cambridge Circle Drive
Kansas City, KS 66110
Phone: (913) 342-4060
Fax: (913) 342-4752

U.S. Sales: $75 million (Ink World Estimate).

Major Products: UV screen, UV flexo, UV digital, solvent-based screen and solvent-based digital inks.

Ed Carhart
Key Personnel: Ed Carhart, CEO of Sericol International; Mitch Bode, senior VP; Chris Lomas, vice president of sales; Bob Linck, director of R&D; Terry Mitchell, director of marketing.

Number of Employees: 205.

Operating Facilities: Nine.

Comments: In 2005, Fujifilm Sericol USA Inc. experienced continued growth in the screen, narrow web and digital ink markets.

“Our North American business was strong in 2005 with significant gains in key markets and double digit growth in both Canada and Mexico,” said Ed Carhart, president and CEO of Fujifilm Sericol’s global business. Sericol opened Sericol de Mexico in Guadalajara, and added personnel in R&D, marketing and field sales in 2005.

“We successfully expanded our product portfolio and gained share in an increasingly competitive and difficult market environment,” said Mr. Carhart. “The most significant event for Sericol in 2005 was our acquisition by Fuji Photo Film Ltd. The actual completion process was concluded quickly in late February. We are already benefiting from Fujifilm’s extensive R&D, manufacturing experience and capabilities.”

Digital sales growth was particularly strong in 2005.

“Our sales of Inca flatbed digital presses, both the high speed Turbo and the new versatile Spyder 320, have fueled sales of digital inks,” said Mitch Bode, senior vice president of Fujifilm Sericol’s North American business. “The Spyder utilizes our patented Uvijet UV inks producing superb graphics with high throughput, making it a very popular digital solution.”

“Many of our screen graphics customers have added digital capability and have realized increased business and higher profits.” Chris Lomas, vice president of sales for Fujifilm Sericol’s North American business, added. “The name of the game today is delivering the desired print quality, with quick turnaround at a competitive cost. Screen + Digital delivers this capability.”

Sericol also reports increased interest in its line of Color+ solvent digital inks.

“Color+ products provide higher color density, increased mileage and improved machine up-time compared to many of the inks in the market today,” said Mr. Lomas. “We have added sales and technical support resources to help our customers get the most out of their digital wide format production through Color+ ink systems.”

Sericol also experienced share gains in their industrial segments particularly graphic overlay, membrane switch and credit card applications.

“There has been good growth in these markets, fueling increased demand for high quality inks and coatings,” Mr. Bode said. “We see the growth trend continuing this year as well.”

Sericol also sees growth in narrow web, particularly shrink sleeve labels.

“Shrink sleeve labels are growing at a 20 percent annual rate as more consumer goods companies opt for this unique and attractive packaging alternative,” Mr. Bode said. “We are very excited about our introduction of Uvisleeve, UV flexo ink for shrink sleeve applications, and expect Uvisleeve and the UVivid line of flexo ink sales to grow rapidly in 2006.”

Escalating raw material costs were a reality that all suppliers of ink faced in 2005. “Due to the combination of unprecedented raw material increases and rapidly rising transportation related expenses, we were forced to pass on a small portion of these increases to our customers,” Mr. Bode said. “However, through several programs initiated in our manufacturing operations, we continue to improve our productivity in both manufacturing and logistics to keep our costs down.”

“We are very pleased with our growth in 2005 and look forward to increased sales in 2006,” Mr. Carhart said. “We are well positioned to increase market share in our traditional screen graphics markets while growing and expanding our digital business. The Fujifilm ownership provides us with extensive resources that we will be able to draw upon to continue to grow all facets of our business.”

13. Nazdar

8501 Hedge Lane Road
Shawnee, KS 66227-3290
Phone: (913) 422-1888
Fax: (913) 422-2296

Sales: $65 million (and more than $100 million in ink sales, equipment and supplies, estimated).

Major Products: Screen printing inks including conventional, UV, water-based, textile and digital inks.

Key Personnel: : J. Jeffrey Thrall, CEO; Mike Fox, president; Richard Bowles, VP and GM; Mike McGowan, VP and technical director; Jim Davidson, VP, international sales; Gary Blair, director of operations.

Operating Facilities: Five in the U.S., UK, and Canada.

Comments: Nazdar had a successful year in 2005, with some growth in its core screen ink business, but the big news was the acquisition of Lyson, Ltd., Stockport, UK, and its subsidiary, Lyson, Inc., Chicago, IL. Lyson is a leading manufacturer of inkjet inks for major OEM digital printer manufacturers and end-users. The Lyson brand and product line are now part of Nazdar’s Inks and Coatings Division.

The addition of Lyson and its leadership to Nazdar accomplishes three key goals. First, Lyson has a complete range of products, including digital inks for all major inkjet print technologies, including piezo, thermal, and CIJ. Lyson manufactures both solvent- and water-based inks in pigment and dye formulations for markets such as industrial coding and marking, office printing, wide format graphics, fine art, photography, proofing and grand format billboard printing.

“Lyson significantly expands our digital product portfolio,” said Richard Bowles, vice president and general manager of Nazdar’s Inks and Coatings Division. “Previously, our offering was limited to grand format products. Lyson has wide format and aqueous products, plus products for the photographic market.”

Second, adding Lyson’s headquarters in Stockport provides Nazdar with a base for expanding its screen ink business in Europe. Along those lines, Nazdar recently signed a distribution agreement with Trimco Graphics S.A., a leading graphic arts supplier in Greece.

“The addition of Lyson helps us with our global expansion initiative, providing a base of operations for our screen ink business in Europe,” Mr. Bowles said.

Third, bringing on the leadership team from Lyson gives Nazdar tremendous resources for its new emphasis on the digital market. In addition, Nazdar has hired Stewart Partridge, a leading international consultant to digital ink manufacturers and OEM manufacturers of digital printers, as business unit director for digital ink. Mr. Partridge has most recently served as managing director of Web Consulting Ltd. in Oxfordshire, UK, a company he founded in 1993.

“The Lyson team and Stewart Partridge coming on board expands our knowledge portfolio, and brings a whole new area of digital customers who aren’t in the screen market,” Mr. Bowles said. “We are very impressed with the Lyson team. Jeff Ball, Tony Martin, Malcolm Kay, James MacDonald and Jerry Fitch are all seasoned professionals who we have added to our knowledge base in digital. This team brings a fresh perspective to our screen-centric mentality.”

“Our history in digital has been through expanding our screen business to digital customers,” Mr. Bowles said. “Now we have a dedicated digital ink division.”

“The acquisition is a great fit for both companies,” said Jeff Ball, Lyson’s founder. “It gives the Lyson brand the resources necessary to further our penetration into the marketplace and to continue to research and develop Lyson products at the very highest level. It gives Nazdar a larger product portfolio and an established base in Europe, which accelerates their international expansion objectives. We’re excited about the possibilities and look forward to being part of the Nazdar organization.”

As for 2005, Nazdar had a solid year of growth.

“We increased our sales in 2005 at a slightly higher rate than the market,” Mr. Bowles said. “The bulk of our gains were in the screen ink market. We see some of our screen customers adding digital machines, and they tell us that their screen business increases when they add digital capabilities.”

Nazdar has relationships with digital equipment OEMs Vutek and Roland, and Mr. Bowles said these have worked out well.

“Vutek and Roland are outstanding relationships which are truly beneficial to both companies and ourselves,” Mr. Bowles said. “Interestingly, everyone we sell Vuteks to also seem to buy more screen inks as well from us.”

Nazdar prides itself on developing new technologies, and during the past year, the company launched its new PowerPrint UV series of inks. PowerPrint inks have been formulated to meet the processing speeds of the most modern printing equipment, curing at lower UV output with low odor.

In particular, PowerPrint Banner 1900 is a multipurpose UV curable screen ink formulated for use on flexible substrates for both indoor and outdoor point-of-purchase applications. PowerPrint Plus 1800 is ideal for rigid substrates, and the multi-purpose PowerPrint 1600 inks are engineered to be cost effective for indoor and short-term outdoor retail displays.

“Our PowerPrint product family will be our leading ink family for the POP market for years to come,” Mr. Bowles said.

Mr. Bowles said that in the face of higher raw material and operating costs, Nazdar raised prices, and that the increases were accepted by the market.

“We did raise prices,” he said. “Everyone expects price increases, and substrates went up so much more than ink. It seems that printers are also starting to get some pricing power themselves. Still, it is a very competitive market.”

Mr. Bowles said that 2006 should be a year of integration and growth for Nazdar.

“In 2006, one of our highest priorities is the Lyson integration,” Mr. Bowles concluded. “Our goals are to increase our market share in the markets we currently serve, expand our geographic presence and enter new application markets, particularly digital.”

13. Superior Printing Ink

70 Bethune Street
New York, NY 10014-1768
Phone: (212) 741-3600
Fax: (212) 633-8283

Sales: $65 million.

Major Products: Sheetfed, UV, waterless, heatset web offset, flexo and gravure inks, coatings and varnishes.

Harvey Brice
Key Personnel: Jeffrey I. Simons, president, CEO and chairman; Harvey R. Brice, managing director; Stan Hittman, executive VP; Harold Rubin, senior VP, CFO; James LaRocca, senior VP, branch operations; Sal Moscuzza, senior VP, principal ink technologist; Stephen Simpson, senior VP, chief technical officer.

Number of Employees: 400.

Operating Facilities: 25 branches and 29 in-plant facilities. The company operates two facilities through its Gotham Ink operations. Spinks Ink Co. is also a subsidiary.

Comments: It was a time of change at Superior Printing Ink, as the company opened its new state-of-the-art varnish facility and warehouse at its central manufacturing facility (CMF) in Hamden, CT. Meanwhile its core business, sheetfed, remains highly competitive.

Considering all that occurred, the company fared rather well in 2005.

“Our sales have been steadily improving, and we’re very pleased about these results,” said Harvey Brice, Superior Printing Ink’s managing director. “We did very well this past year, considering how the industry is right now.”

Mr. Brice said that the company’s decision to replace its Newark, NJ varnish plant with a $4 million, 12,000 square foot automated plant at its CMF is already paying dividends for the company.

“Our new varnish plant has been a major highlight for us,” Mr. Brice said. “We are very pleased with the new addition, which has helped us eliminate some major costs. In addition, the plant is now automated, with the varnish being distributed right into the batches of ink. Our return on investment for the new varnish plant is approximately four years, which is very acceptable.”

Adjacent to the varnish plant and CMF is another new facility containing a 30,000 square foot warehouse distribution center (WDC).

From the WDC, some 40,000 pounds a day of ink produced at the CMF are shipped to the company’s branches around the country, which operate as separate full-service lithographic ink manufacturing facilities.

“Our WDC has allowed us to reduce freight and handling costs for supplying our branches and customers, as well as allowing us to expedite orders,” Mr. Brice said.

Mr. Brice said that in 2005, Superior Printing Ink began the process of constructing a new headquarters facility complete with a state-of-the-art R&D lab in Teterboro, NJ. The company will likely move into its new headquarters later this year.

Superior Printing Ink is best known for its service and quality, and the past year saw the company strengthening those areas. Superior Printing Ink was very active at Print 05, beginning with its Preflight to Profitability program, an extension of its long-standing motto, “Modern Technology/Old Fashioned Service.” Preflight to Profitability, or P2P, targets operational issues such as color management, system calibration, inventory control, workflow, press fingerprinting and other issues to optimize printers’ manufacturing workflow and productivity.

Among the services that Superior has developed is its Precision Color Mixing System (PCMS), a proprietary small-batch blending and recycling system, and Superior Ink Management On-Site System, or SIMONS, which is ideal for in-plants.

SIMONS offers billing, ink formulas database, computerized inventory management, record usage for jobs and management reports. Printers can then select the services they need.

The company developed a wide variety of new inks in the past year.

“We have a new generation of process inks that are much more press-friendly, and our UV and UV hybrid inks have been highlights,” Mr. Brice said.

Mr. Brice said that raw material prices and availability of these products will continue to be a serious problem for the ink industry.

“Raw material pricing will always be an issue, as the amount of suppliers to buy from is narrowing down,” Mr. Brice said. “We were able to increase prices in December, and are looking at ways to defray higher freight costs.”

Mr. Brice expects that 2006 will be similar to 2005.

“2006 seems to be holding up so far,” Mr. Brice concluded. “I think it will follow the same basic pattern as 2005, but anything can happen. It will be an interesting year.”

15. Van Son Holland Ink Corporation of America

185 Oval Dr.
Islandia, NY 11501
Phone: (631) 715-7000
Fax: (631) 715-7020

Sales: $64 million.

Major Products: Conventional offset and waterless offset, duplicator and inkjet inks.

Key Personnel: Joe Bendowski, president and CEO; Ken Ferguson, technical director; Robert Langer, VP of finance; John Sammis, VP, sales and marketing; John Bendowski, national sales manager.

Number of Employees: 120.

Operating Facilities: Headquarters and manufacturing in Islandia, NY, and a central distribution center in Chicago.

Comments: Realizing several years ago that the printing industry as a whole was poised to undergo significant changes, Van Son Holland Ink’s executive management began exploring new opportunities to meet the impending new demands it felt sure were on the horizon.

The company began to spend considerable focus on the needs of the mid-sized and large sheetfed market, exploring more effective ways to meet the requirements this market would soon encounter.

The answer came with the introduction of the Vs5 ink line, developed by Van Son to specifically address the emerging, diverse needs of the mid-sized to large sheetfed market. Understanding that local presence was critical to the support of these growing commercial printers, Van Son initiated partnerships with a select group of small ink manufacturers. Strategically located across North America, these companies clearly demonstrated the potential to successfully sell and service the new line of Van Son inks to the mid- to large commercial print market.

“Our Vs Series inks offer exceptional end-user benefits, and because of that, they are doing extremely well in the market place,” said Joe Bendowski, president of Van Son Holland Ink. “Today, we have 16 active ink companies selling this line and have formed an Ink Council with this group that is very collaborative in nature. Due to the success these independent companies have experienced selling the Vs Series inks, and the support they receive in networking as business partners from participating in the Council, several additional ink manufacturers are very interested in being a part of our program. It’s growing every single month.”

As a result of the Vs Series program, which went into effect two years ago, Van Son has experienced positive bottom-line results, even while the printing industry as a whole has undergone significant changes.

“This past year was a very good year for Van Son. Our revenues continue to show a good balance of sales from both small offset to mid- and large offset,” Mr. Bendowski said. “The Vs Series program makes it possible to sell more pounds for the same revenue, which is a plus, and certainly has added to our positive year-end results.”

Mr. Bendowski noted that an interesting outgrowth of the Vs Series Ink Council is the ongoing requests by the Ink Council for new product development from Van Son.

“At the request of our partners, we are definitely adding new products,” he said. “For example, our partners came to us and asked us to develop a no-wax, no-drier based ink system, which they could customize for any application. We linked it to the X-Rite color system, and now they can use our base inks and blend them using X-Rite system, making it possible to meet their own customer’s requirements with incredible precision.”

In terms of additional product development, the company continues to see growth for its new Quickson PRO oil-based ink, which delivers impressive performance while driving down cost when coupled with high-volume consumption. Quickson PRO, developed to work on any size press and application, is setting a benchmark for quality and is very competitively priced.

With an eye toward expansion in the Asia Pacific region, Van Son Holland Ink made a pair of significant moves this past year with the opening of an office in Shanghai and a factory in Korea.

“We have been doing a great deal of business in Asia, so it seemed to be a natural step to open a sales and marketing office in Shanghai,” Mr.Bendowski said. “The response has been remarkable for us. We also added a new factory in Korea. Its focus is developing commercial sheetfed inks, and that, too, is working out very well.” Additionally, the company added a 12,000 square foot extension to its central distribution center in Chicago.

Mr. Bendowski noted that Van Son Ink is also dedicated to continuing its expansion into the digital ink market. “Our bulk OEM inkjet business is important to us,” he said. “We have developed digital inks for the KBA Karat presses that are doing quite well, and that pleases us.”

All in all, Van Son’s recent activities support the company’s continuing goal to expand its business by anticipating market trends and changes and responding to them with innovative solutions that provide the support a changing industry needs.

“We’re very optimistic for us – and for the industry in general,” Mr. Bendowski concluded. “Our momentum in all our served markets is quite high, and the future looks very exciting for Van Son. We feel the same excitement extends to the printing industry as a whole. There are new opportunities to explore every day.”

16. SICPA Securink Corporation

8000 Research Way
Springfield, VA 22153
Phone: (703) 455-8050
Fax: (703) 450-2423
E-mail: securityinks@sicpa.com

Total Sales: $60 million (Ink World estimate).

Major Products: Security and conventional inks for intaglio, offset, screen, flexo and gravure security printing applications.

Key Personnel: James Bonhivert, CEO and president; Tom Jay, VP of sales and marketing; Tom Classick, technical director.

Number of Employees: Approximately 100.

Operating Facilities: Springfield, VA; Chicago, IL; Fort Worth, TX; and Vaudreuil-Dorian, Quebec.

Comments: In a move designed to focus on SICPA’s strength in security ink applications, SICPA Management S.A. divested the company’s Packaging Ink Division, including SICPA North America, to Siegwerk Group.

As a result, SICPA will now concentrate on two areas, Banknote and Document Security and Product Security, where its unparalleled R&D expertise is a perfect fit. SICPA’s Banknote and Document Security business group is the worldwide leader in its field, producing an estimated 85 percent of the world’s security inks. SICPA’s R&D specialists have designed sophisticated products that continue to keep counterfeiters and terrorists at bay. The Product Security business group is an ideal fit for the company’s high-technology products, which are being used to stop the flow of counterfeits and smuggling in areas as diverse as pharmaceuticals, tobacco and alcohol, food and luxury goods.    

In the U.S., SICPA Securink, headquartered in Springfield, VA, dominates the security ink business, with its inks appearing on everything from currency and security documents to other documents of value. For SICPA, creating the color-shifting Optically Variable Ink (OVI) for U.S. currency has been a critical aspect in cutting down counterfeiting. In conjunction with its parent company and its high-tech suppliers, SICPA has created countless innovative inks in its R&D laboratories, such as the successful color-shifting Optically Variable Ink for U.S. currency, and backs it up with strong technical support.

As an example of SICPA’s technical capabilities, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve launched a new, more secure design for the $10 note, which entered circulation in early 2006. The new note is highlighted by images of the Statue of Liberty’s torch and the words “We the People” from the U.S. Constitution, as well as the use of OVI on the numeral “10.” It incorporates easy-to-use security features for people to check their money and subtle background colors in shades of orange, yellow and red.

17. Ink Systems, Inc.

2311 South Eastern Ave.
Commerce, CA 90040
Phone: (323) 720-4000
Fax: (323) 721-6000

Sales: $58 million.

Major Products: Heatset, sheetfed and UV inks.

Key Personnel: Urban S. Hirsch III, ex-president; Scott Jacobson, VP manager; Tim Van Scoy, VP of sales and marketing; Peter Notti, another VP.

Number of Employees: 270.

Operating Facilities: Commerce, CA; Elk Grove Village, IL; Portland, OR; and 34 in-plant facilities.

Comments: For high-end commercial sheetfed printers, quality and service are essential, and Ink Systems, Inc. has found a niche for itself by providing state-of-the-art in-plant operations featuring experienced personnel, high-quality ink systems and proprietary software which make a printer’s job much easier.

As a result, Ink Systems has grown rapidly in the past few years, and while 2005 was a rather quiet year in terms of growth for Ink Systems, the company is poised to make further gains in 2006.

“We had a small increase in sales in 2005,” said Urban S. Hirsch III, founder and ex-president of Ink Systems. “We were able to offset a few losses of accounts due to consolidation and pricing by adding more new accounts, and we have good opportunities for the coming year.”

The company continues to grow into its new 50,000 square foot Commerce, CA headquarters, which Ink Systems moved into in 2001 and features top-quality labs and production facilities, manufacturing everything right down to the stainless steel equipment the company uses in its in-plant facilities. The company also has a 20,000 square foot facility in Elk Grove Village, IL, which serves its Midwest accounts, as well as a Northwest facility in Portland, OR, that is 18,000 square feet.

18. American Inks & Coatings

3400 N. Hutchinson St.
Pine Bluff, AR 71602
Phone: (870) 247-2080
Fax: (870) 247-5317

Sales: $50 million in ink and coatings.

Major Products: Water- and solvent-based flexo and gravure packaging inks and coatings; UV and EB coatings.

Key Personnel: Jerry Mosley, CEO; Mitch Baker, president; Michael Mosley, CFO; Scott Clark, VP and general manager; Joe Yancey, VP of operations.

Number of Employees: 165.

Operating Facilities: Pine Bluff, AR; Valley Forge, PA; Roanoke, VA; Florence, KY; Winston-Salem, NC; West Memphis, TN; Jacksonville, FL.

Comments: In 2001, Jerry Mosley and Mitch Baker, the longtime leaders of Progressive Ink, reentered the ink industry with Packaging Ink Company. The company quickly acquired American Inks & Coatings (AIC) in 2002, reforming the company under that name and emphasizing the excellent quality and service that were the hallmarks of Progressive Ink.

Now, four years later, AIC is a $50 million water- and solvent-based packaging ink and coatings company, having registered 25 percent sales growth again in 2005.

“We’re going well,” said Mr. Baker, AIC’s president. “Growth was pretty uniform for us between water- and solvent-based inks.”

AIC offers a complete range of packaging inks, from water-based inks for multiwall bag, high graphics corrugated, folding carton, gift wrap and other packaging to solvent-based inks for flexible packaging and other innovative applications.

Mr. Baker said that flexible packaging appears to be the best avenue for growth in the coming years, and added that the company is poised for strong growth in 2006.

“We’re projecting 20 percent growth in the coming year,” Mr. Baker said.

19. Color Resolutions International LLC

575 Quality Blvd.
Fairfield, OH 45014
Phone: (513) 552-7200
Fax: (513) 552-7141

Sales: $47 million (Ink World estimate).

Major Products: Water-based flexo, solvent-based gravure, UV-curable and specialty inks for the packaging market.

Key Personnel: George Sickinger, chairman, CEO and president; Rick Gray, CFO; John Edelbrock, VP of manufacturing; Paul Fulton, VP of technical services; Joe Schlinkert, director of technology; Hixon Boyd, VP, field operations, South; Dave Barker, VP, field operations, North; Jim Distler, vice president, specialty products.

Number of Employees: 121.

Operating Facilities: Manufacturing plant in Fairfield, OH, and 16 blending sites.

Comments: Although its sales only grew slightly in 2005, Color Resolutions International (CRI) had a very encouraging year overall, largely due to growth in new markets and overcoming the loss of a large account, which began supplying ink to its converting plants several years ago.

“We had a slightly better year than last year,” said George Sickinger, CRI’s chairman, CEO and president. “We had good growth in flexible packaging, folding carton and UV flexo, and while these are not yet major pieces for us, we’re in places we weren’t in a year ago.”

CRI’s core market is packaging, and is a leader in the corrugated segment. However, the decline in U.S. manufacturing has impacted the corrugated market.

“We really like the corrugated market, but overall, there’s just not going to be dynamic growth,” Mr. Sickinger said.

With an eye toward customers who have set up operations in Mexico, CRI opened a plant in Mexico in 2005. Mr. Sickinger said the initial results have been impressive.

“Our new operations in Mexico have picked up some business, and the location is starting to pay off. We believe Mexico will have a much higher growth rate than the U.S.,” Mr. Sickinger said, adding that further global expansion is something the company is considering for the future.

Higher raw material prices continue to impact the ink industry, and Mr. Sickinger said that CRI had to raise ink prices. However, CRI’s executives traveled to customers to explain their needs, and that went a long way in ensuring their support.

“Price increases went very well,” Mr. Sickinger said. “We personally went to our accounts to explain the need for the increases, and our customers understood what the drivers are.”

The company’s new state-of-the-art headquarters in Fairfield, OH, complete with automation and bulk systems, is helping the company achieve greater efficiency and consistency, and its Lean Manufacturing approach also is aiding CRI’s efforts to overcome higher costs.

“Our new plant has so many advantages to it, and Lean Manufacturing is helping us to continue to take cost out,” Mr. Sickinger said.

Mr. Sickinger said that Color Resolutions International is well prepared for the future.

“We have developed a strategic plan for the next five years, complete with plans for new product lines and geographic spread,” he said. “I traveled around the U.S. to communicate our values and goals to everyone in our company.”

Mr. Sickinger said that he anticipates strong growth in 2006.

“We are budgeting for a significant increase this year,” he said. “The growth we’ve had in 2005 is a manifestation of the groundwork laid out in the previous year, and we worked on some really good accounts that we will see come to fruition this year.”

20. Environmental Inks & Coatings

1 Quality Products Road
Morganton, NC 28655
Phone: (828) 433-1922
Fax: (828) 438-9513

Sales: $44 million (Ink World estimate).

Major Products: Water-based flexo, gravure, UV flexo, UV rotary screen and UV letterpress inks, and overprint varnishes.

Key Personnel: Edward G. Redman, chairman of the board; Paul Schroeder, president and CEO; Thomas A. Galas, CFO; Richard J. Gloeckler, VP/GM Eastern Division; Michael Harjung, VP/GM Western Division; Kenneth Keathley, director of marketing; Kirk Franklin, VP technology.

Number of Employees: 230.

Comments: Environmental Inks & Coatings (EIC) had a good year in 2005, as the label and narrow web industry, EIC’s core market, continues to enjoy growth.

“The narrow web printing market has been pretty strong lately,” said Paul Schroeder, EIC’s president and CEO. “ Our business picked up in September, and we had a real good December. January finished very well and our strong sales continued through February. As a result, we see a fairly good year ahead in 2006.”

To cope with higher raw material and operational costs, EIC was able to pass along some price increases as well as implement some cost reductions.

In particular, EIC showed growth in the UV and water-based ink markets.

“Our UV business is starting to become a viable contender,” Mr. Schroeder said. “Our water-based business has been strong, and we have new product lines we are developing.”

Among these promising new products are additions to the Envirocure UV line, Chroma Plus, EIC’s new high-end ink for high line aniloxes, and a new line of UV heat shrink inks.

“We have developed a line of UV heat shrink inks, which we are testing and getting good reviews on at our beta sites,” Mr. Schroeder said. “We hope to go commercial with it in the near future.”

While EIC closed down its manufacturing facility in Sneek, The Netherlands, last year, its overall export business is thriving.

“We have good export business in Central and South America as well as some developments in Asia,” Mr. Schroeder said.

EIC also opened up some new facilities in the past year.

“We opened up a new facility in Minneapolis, and our Toronto facility is very close,” Mr. Schroeder said. “Our Toronto facility will handle in tandem with Label Supply, our distributor in the region.”