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A Year of Change in the Printing Ink Industry

By David Savastano, Editor | 12.23.13

The printing ink industry and its suppliers have had a relatively quiet year on the M&A front. In terms of personnel moves and new facilities, though, there has been more news.

The printing industry has seen more than its share of changes again this year. Mergers and acquisitions among printers (the pending RR Donnelley – Consolidated Graphics deal, Quad/Graphics completion of its merger with Vertis, CCL buying Avery Dennison’s label business come to mind) and suppliers continue, as consolidation remains at the forefront.
The printing ink industry and its suppliers, however, have had a very quiet year on the M&A front. In terms of personnel moves and new facilities, though, there has been more news.
Mergers and Acquisitions
As mentioned above, the ink industry has seen little in the way of consolidation in 2013, with only a handful of mergers on the ink side. The most notable occurred on April 25, when Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co. acquired Arets International NV, the holding company of the Arets Group, a Niel, Belgian-based UV ink specialist.
Toyo Ink Group paid €9 million (1.17 billion yen, or $11.8 million) to obtain all the outstanding shares in Arets International NV, the holding company of the Arets Group, which had sales of €48,680,000 ($63.6 million) in 2012. After taxes, the company had recorded a loss of €2,423,000 ($3,167,000). The move gives Toyo Ink a larger presence in Europe and adds to its UV ink portfolio.
In other acquisitions, Great Western Ink announced the successful acquisition of Reno Ink of Reno, NV in May. IIMAK, a manufacturer of printing and marking consumables, announced the acquisition of Specialty Ink Company’s business, effective July 1, 2013. This included all formulas, brands, processes, and assets from Specialty Ink Company to produce inks, stamp pads, and related items with the exception of Mark II stamp pads.
ALTANA was active on both the coatings and additives sides. In August, ALTANA acquired the specialty coatings business of Henkel, which has sales of approximately $15 million in 2012. Its products, are sold under the brand names MiraFoil and Miracure, and are mainly supplied to the North American packaging industry. The business were integrated into ACTEGA Kelstar Inc. in the U.S. and into ACTEGA Terra GmbH in Germany.
In October, ALTANA purchased the European business for water-based and UV overprint varnishes of The Valspar (France) Corporation, S.A.S., which generated sales of less than €8 million, primarily in Europe. That business was also integrated into ACTEGA Terra.
On the supplier side, ALTANA acquired the global rheology business of Rockwood Holdings Inc. for $635 million. One of the world’s leading manufacturers of rheology additives, Rockwood had approximately 340 employees at four production sites in the U.S., the UK and Germany; the rheology business generated sales of $191 million in 2012. ALTANA integrated the business into its BYK Additives & Instruments division.
Rockwood Holdings also combined with Huntsman Corporation, in which Huntsman will acquire Rockwood's Performance Additives and Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) businesses for approximately $1.1 billion in cash and assume unfunded pension liabilities estimated at $225 million. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2014; Huntsman’s leaders then anticipate having a public offering for its Pigments business, which it estimates will have combined annual sales of $3 billion, within two years of approval.
Alvar acquired the assets of Arez LLC, including its new production facility in Crossett, AR, which allows the company to combine its resin and vehicle capabilities.
Ink manufacturers also added new facilities during the past 12 months. Among the additions, Siegwerk Canada opened its new facility in the greater Toronto area. Wikoff Color converted a space in its Fort Mill, SC manufacturing plant into a state-of-the-art energy-cure inkjet ink manufacturing facility and cleanroom. In December, INX International Ink broke ground on its newest solvent ink manufacturing plant, located in Lebanon, OH, near Cincinnati.
There was a range of key moves in terms of personnel during 2013. In April, Fernando Tavara was named president of Sun Chemical Latin America. Also in April, Nazdar Ink Technologies appointed Richard Bowles as its new president. Rick Westrom, senior vice president of strategic sourcing at INX International Ink Co., took on additional duties as senior vice president – research & development director. Frieda Liles was elected vice president – finance and treasurer of Wikoff Color Corporation. She previously served as corporate controller since joining the company in December 2008.
Flint Group made a series of promotions. Bill Miller was named president Print Media Transatlantic. Craig Foster was appointed as president Print Media Europe, in addition to his responsibilities as president Pigments Chips and Resins and global operations.Tony Lord, vice president European Operations, was also appointed as general manager, Print Media Europe. Steve Dryden joined Flint Group as chief financial officer in July. He previously was group finance director at DS Smith Plc.
Micro Powders has announced several executive changes effective in April 2013. Gary Strauss has assumed the role of president and COO, and Deena Strauss Kornblau has assumed the role of CEO and executive vice president.
Sadly, the industry also lost some key figures who passed away last year.
Charles E. (Chuck) Hoover III, president of Hoover Color, passed away at his home in Blacksburg, VA, on Jan. 17, 2013, just shy of his 78th birthday. He joined the family company, Hoover Color, in 1954 and became president in 1960.
EFI mourned the passing of its founder and first CEO, Efraim "Efi" Arazi, who died on April 14, 2013, Arazi created his namesake company in 1988 after a pioneering, 20-year career as the founder, president and CEO of the first Israeli high-tech firm, Scitex Corporation. He served as chairman, president and CEO of Electronics for Imaging (EFI) from 1988 until 1994, guiding the business from modest beginnings, with 18 employees in North Beach, San Francisco. Under his leadership and technical guidance, EFI launched Fiery, the printing industry's first color server, in 1991. Arazi completed an initial public offering for EFI in 1992.
Louis Werneke, founder of Werneke Ink Company, passed away on March 31, 2013. A pivotal leader in the narrow web tag and label industry, Mr. Werneke is credited with beginning the design of the very first water-based ink for flexo printing in 1973, and then worked on developing a water-based system for label printing.
On the awards front, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) honored William Miller, Flint Group’s president Print Media Transatlantic and a 30-year veteran of the ink industry, with the prestigious Ault Award, the highest honor in the North American printing ink industry during its 2013 annual convention.
NAPIM also honored 13 leaders with its prestigious Printing Ink Pioneer Award:  Doug Anderson, Central Ink; Holly Anderson, Hydrite Chemical; Pat Carlisle, Joules Angstrom U.V. Printing Inks; Pam Carney, MeadWestvaco; Marc Castillo, Braden Sutphin Ink; Janet Ciravolo, NAPIM; Tom DeBartolo, Sun Chemical; Dan Delegge, Inksolutions; Ron Gallas, Flint Group Pigments; Lee Godina, Resinall; John Hrdlick, NX International Ink; Michael Podd, Flint Group; and Dale Pritchett, Ink World magazine.
During the National Printing Ink Research Institute’s (NPIRI) Annual Technical Conference, NAPIM presented the Technical Achievement Award to Gerald Napiecek of Colorcon, No-Tox Products, and the Technical Associate Member Service Award to Greg Webb of Mead Westvaco.
The Chicago Printing Ink Production Club (CPIPC) named George McGill of Toyo Ink America as its 2012 Ink Person of the Year, and Andy Grabacki of General Press Color as the 2012 Ink Supplier of the Year. The Metro New York Printing Ink Association (MNYPIA) named William B. Neuberg of Shamrock Technologies as its 2013 Man of the Year.