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M&A Activity Continues to Rise among Ink Manufacturers, Suppliers

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 12.29.10

For ink manufacturers, the consolidation of the supply chain has been a serious concern, but there also has been activity during the past year on the ink side. The printing ink industry again saw a key acquisition this month, as Siegwerk acquired Environmental Inks & Coatings (EIC) in early December.

Back in April, I wrote about the trend for major ink manufacturers to acquire mid-sized packaging ink specialists.

In the last year and a half, there have been five acquisitions along these lines. In June 2009, Sun Chemical acquired Handschy Industries, whose main efforts were in the folding carton market. In July 2009, ALTANA purchased Water Ink Technologies, a label and narrow web leader.

In February 2010, Flint Group acquired Torda Ink, a packaging ink specialist whose geographic strength is centered in Scandinavia. Toyo Ink Group made a move in April 2010, acquiring Fluid Ink Technology, a water-based ink manufacturer.

Siegwerk’s acquisition of EIC makes a lot of sense, as the packaging segment is much healthier than the publication/commercial business. EIC is a specialist in water-based inks for the narrow web label market in the Americas, with sales reportedly of $40 million in 2010. Siegwerk’s main business is in flexible packaging, which is dominated by solvent-based ink technologies. For Siegwerk, the acquisition of EIC gives the company a much stronger position in the label and narrow web field. As a family-owned company, EC will fit in nicely with Siegwerk.

There was, however, potentially larger news on the ink front, as Toyo Ink increased its share of Sakata INX to more than 16 percent by purchasing 3 million shares of Sakata INX’s stock. These two major multi-national ink specialists have a history of working together; there has not been much information released as to what is behind Toyo Ink’s purchase of the additional shares, or what the end result will be.

Suppliers on the Move

Still, compared to what is occurring on the supplier side of the ink business, the printing ink industry is standing still. In the last month, no less than four major mergers and acquisitions were either finalized or begun.

• BASF successfully completed its acquisition of Cognis Holding GmbH from Cognis Holding Luxembourg S.à r.l., which was controlled by Permira Funds, GS Capital Partners and SV Life Sciences.

• Arkema announces its plans to acquire the Coatings Resins (Cray Valley and Cook Composite Polymers) and Photocure Resins (Sartomer) businesses of Total’s Specialty Chemicals activities for a €550M enterprise value. With growing sales of approximately €850M, and almost 1,750 employees on some 20 sites around the world, these activities would enhance Arkema’s position on these markets (emulsions, rheology additives, fluorinated polymers and copolymers, etc.).

• Royal DSM N.V. announced that it intends to acquire a 51% stake in AGI Corporation of Taiwan, which offers a broad range of environmentally friendly UV curable resins and other products.

• Momentive Specialty Chemicals Inc. announced that it signed a definitive agreement to sell its global Ink & Adhesive Resins (IAR) business to Harima Chemicals, Inc., a leading producer of pine-based products. Harima will purchase the complete business, including 11 manufacturing facilities on five continents. It is anticipated that the IAR management team and approximately 650 global associates will join Harima at closing.

For the buyers, these acquisitions all offer increased range of products as well as increasing capabilities globally. In particular, the UV market is an area of importance in these acquisitions. For printing ink manufacturers, these acquisitions will reshape the supply chain, and will likely be followed with more consolidation in the future.