Latin America has enjoyed solid economic growth in recent years, and its printing industry has also expanded. With an eye on these developments, ink manufacturers domestic and international alike have expanded their operations in the region.
For example, Siegwerk has set up LATAM, a new division focused on its customers in the region.
“In order to generate a closer relationship with our customers in this region, Siegwerk has decided to create a new region called LATAM with the headquarters based in Buenos Aires, Argentina,” said Siegwerk CEO Herbert Forker. “Formerly, the American continent was divided up into the regions NAFTA and South America.”
Siegwerk employs approximately 650 people in the LATAM Region with presence in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Central America. Mr. Forker said that Siegwerk plans to keep investing in South American countries such as Peru, which is currently supplied via sites in other countries within the region.
Sanchez SA de CV, the leading ink manufacturer in Mexico and Central America, also is expanding in the region.
“We are proud to announce the opening of our new company in Colombia, Grupo Sanchez Colombia SA, which started operations in March 20, 2012,” sad Ernesto Sanchez, president of Sanchez SA de CV. “This time we are in partnership with the Samudio Family, whose experience in the resin and adhesive markets should help us speed up our sales in the market.”
Color Resolutions International (CRI) is expanding its operations in Mexico.
“Color Resolutions is moving to a new facility in Monterrey, Mexico, that is twice the size of its old facility and will include quality control processes already in place in CRI’s U.S. facilities,” Miguel Rocha Tijerina, director, Color Resolutions de Mexico, said. “CRI is installing a new ink dispenser in its Monterrey site that will benefit customers by increasing ink consistency and quality on all jobs. The new facility will have showroom-type quality and position CRI for strong growth in Mexico and Latin America into the future.”
Flint Group has enjoyed growth in the Latin American region. The company announced that Claudio Labbe, president of Flint Group Latin America since 2008, will retire from the company with effect from July 1, 2012.
During his 18-year career with Flint Group, Mr. Labbe started up operations in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile.
“Under his overall leadership, the Brazilian and Andean businesses have grown rapidly, and Mexico has become an important business for Flint Group,” Antoine Fady, CEO of Flint Group said.
Mr. Labbe will be succeeded by Adhemur Pilar, who has been promoted to vice president and general manager for Flint Group LATAM. Nestor Porto was promoted to vice president - Andean, Mexico and Caribbean Region. Mr. Porto will continue with his existing responsibility for the Peruvian joint venture (TGV).
The Latin American economy has fared better than most regions in recent years, and the past year continued that expansion.
“Although our country needs to grow at higher rates if we really want to consider Mexico a developed country, in 2011 our economy grew 3.9%,” Mr. Sanchez said. “The awakening of the U.S. economy pulled Mexico during 2011 and the beginning of 2012. In addition to this, we are in the middle of general elections, and this like in previous elections is a big economy booster.
“Even with that, by the first quarter of 2012 Mexico is growing at an annual pace of 4.6%, “ Mr. Sanchez added. “There are many concerns about the international economy coming from mainly from Europe, where the Greek crisis is making our currency shake and causing some increase in our costs.”
“The LATAM ink market showed a positive development in 2011. The main graphic printers or packaging converters continue to invest steadily to improve their processes, gaining efficiency as well as increasing their printing quality,” said Mr. Forker. “These aspects were clearly seen in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Chile.
“Siegwerk has the mission and passion to provide its customers with a world-class product portfolio, with best technical service, consistent high-level product quality and enhanced competitiveness,” Mr. Forker added. “The LATAM Region has significant GDP growth of above 8% in Colombia, Peru and Argentina. Chile and Mexico are growing steadily by 5%. Brazil has suffered from the devaluation of the overvalued currency, which puts pressure on profitability.”
“Latin America is a vast region with big differences between countries and economies,” said Greg Lawson, president, Sun Chemical Latin America. “In general, the region has had positive growth, although not at the same level of previous years. Packaging grew close to the GDP level of each country, while
“No single region in the world is isolated in a global economy. The balance between supply and demand affects Latin America too. The situation is further aggravated by currency devaluation in countries like Brazil and Mexico,” Mr. Lawson added.
Mario Arellano, operations manager for Color Resolutions International (CRI), said that healthy growth in the packaging and narrow web flexo market helped offset a decline in the overall printing industry.
“The result was a moderate overall growth,” said Mr. Arellano. “Mexico’s stable economy has attracted foreign investment from Southeast Asia and some European countries, which is helping the packaging and label industries.”
“The Mexico economy reflected a moderate GNP growth rate, and this has helped motivate independent companies to invest in new capital equipment to meet the market demand for improved print graphics,” said George Sickinger, CRI’s president and CEO. “There is confidence in the private sector to continue growth strategies. The security issues of previous years has diminished and Mexico is once again attracting the return of maquiladora industries along the Mexico-U.S. border regions. An abundance of skilled human resources is helping attract these investments. Although 2012 is an election year, the economy does not show signs of slowing or declining.”
“We felt the past year was decent, but we expect growth this year due to their economy rebounding quicker than the U.S. economy,” said Rob Callif, vice president, BCM Inks. Mr. Callif said he sees corrugated graphic printing as a key growth opportunities for BCM Inks in the region.
Mr. Sickinger sees the corrugated and packaging industries as having strong potential for growth.
“Color Resolutions has an improved image and recognition status in the Mexican market,” Mr. Sickinger said. “The key growth opportunities in Mexico continue to be in its core business – servicing the corrugated and packaging industries. We have had moderate growth and successes in the narrow web and specialty printing industries and this will continue in the near future.”
“Growth and evolution in our society means to be keenly aware and respond to the changes in our environment, and we are now seeing some of those changes in purchasing operations,” Mr. Arellano added. “In times past, it was the purchasing department that determined suppliers. This changed with time to the end user being the decision maker in suppliers. Now the trend is to let marketing participate and evaluate the suppliers since they are in tune with the marketplace. We are engaging customers on each of these levels to find the best opportunities for growth in Latin America.”
Understandably, ink manufacturers are optimistic about the continued opportunities for growth in the region.
“Sun Chemical is committed to Latin America long term and helping our broad range of customers grow their business,” Mr. Lawson said. “Sun Chemical has facilities throughout Latin America and plans to grow in all ink product lines by combining quality, service, and innovation.”
“For the next three years, Siegwerk sees an optimistic future sustained by an increasing development of GDP, exports within LATAM and towards the U.S., and a natural growth of per capita packaging consumption,” Mr. Forker said. “At the same time, we sense the need to continue investing in the latest innovative ink production system as part of the Siegwerk Excellence Initiative ‘Xceed,’ which triggers a continuous search for excellence in purchasing, operations, sales and people management.”
“We expect Latin America to be a big growth opportunity for us.,” Mr. Callif said. “More corrugated printers want to print graphics because the food and beverage industry is demanding this of the printers.”
“With the increased recognition we have achieved in the market, we are poised to increase our market share in the different sectors of the packaging industries,” Mr. Sickinger said. “Our infrastructure and organization has been solidified to achieve moderate to healthy growth rates. CRI will be moving into a new, larger facility in Monterrey and will have increased our presence and capability in Mexico City. In stark contrast to the security issues we hear about, I am most impressed with the quality of the Mexican and Latin American work force. They have a genuine interest and pride in doing a good job and being a part of positive change.”