Online Exclusives

The Latin American Ink Market

By David Savastano | 07.18.13

Latin America is one of the key growth areas for the printing ink industry. As the economy expands, opportunities for packaging and publication printing are emerging, and multinational corporations have moved some of their production to the region. This has led to growth in printing and for ink manufacturers.

While many of the leading international ink manufacturers have set up subsidiaries in Latin America, independent domestic ink manufacturers are also significant players in Central and South America.


Mexico and Central America have built up sizable printing business, and Sanchez SA de CV has become the ink industry leader in the region. Based in Mexico City, Sanchez SA de CV has subsidiaries throughout Central America, including El Salvador (Sanchez Centroamerica), Guatamala (Tintas Sanchez Guatemala SA) and Costa Rica. The company is also expanding within Mexico.

“We are in the middle of moving equipment and raw materials to start production in our new liquid ink plant in Tepeji del Rio,” said Ernesto Sanchez, managing director for Sanchez SA de CV.

The company is also branching into South America, opening Grupo Sanchez Colombia in March 2012 and developing projects in Ecuador, among other nations.

Mr. Sanchez said that Mexico got off to a slow economic start in 2013, but the economy is expected to grow during the second half of the year.

“After having a quite interesting 2012, where we had presidential elections and changed government, 2013 started at an slower pace than expected,” Mr. Sanchez said. “It seems like the new government led by Enrique Peña Nieto is cautious in spending taxpayers’ money. Nevertheless we are confident that the second half of this year will show a more vigorous economy. The recovery of the U.S. economy will also help Mexico to get its industry moving.”

Mr. Sanchez noted that Sanchez SA de CV’s subsidiaries are doing well.

“The economies in the countries we are servicing are doing quite well, helping us to report steady growth in El Salvador and encouraging results in our year-old company in Colombia,” Mr. Sanchez said. “Overall, packaging markets are showing better numbers than commercial or editorial.”


According to ABITIM, the Brazilian ink industry is a $550 million business annually. With headquarters in Rio de Janeiro and branch offices in Sao Paulo, Porto Allegre and Buenos Aires, Cromos S.A. Tintas Gráficas is a leader in the Brazilian and Argentinian ink industry. Gero Pluecker, vice president, Cromos S.A. Tintas Gráficas, said that Cromos showed good sales figures this first semester.

“The best sector in the graphic industry is packaging, due to the fact that Brazil has its best performance in agriculture,” Mr. Pluecker said. “For Cromos, given the fact that there will be no significant growth in sheetfed offset, the only way is to look for other, niche markets.”

Mr. Pluecker noted that quality and service is critical in Brazil and Argentina, and said that Cromos S.A. Tintas Gráficas continues to receive industry awards.

“We again received the annual award from Graphprint, the leading national magazine of the graphic industry, as the best printing ink supplier,” Mr. Pluecker said. “It was the 12th edition of this award, of which Cromos has received 11 of the awards.”

Mr. Plueker noted that when economy in the U.S. improves, Brazil’s economy suffers, as it happens in all emerging countries. “There are countries in Latin America with better overall economic performance than Brazil, including Mexico, Chile and Peru,” he added.

Mr. Pluecker anticipates that Brazil will see economic growth, partly driven by major events that will be occurring in the next few years.

“Next year is the World Cup and general elections, and in 2016, we will have the Olympic Games,” Mr. Pluecker said. “All these events will surely improve the economy, thus we can say that we are ‘moderately optimistic’ for the near future.”