Top Companies Report

9. Fujifilm Sericol International Ltd.


Pysons Road, Broadstairs
Kent, UK CT10 2LE
Phone: +44 1843 866668
Fax: +44 1843 872126
Sales: $350 million (Ink World estimate).

Major Products: UV screen, UV flexo, UV digital (piezo inkjet), solvent-based digital and solvent-based screen inks; screen pre-press; Fujifilm and Inca Digital presses.

Key Personnel: Sam Ota, president, Graphic Systems Division, Fujifilm North America Corporation; Mitch Bode, general manager, Sericol Unit, Graphic Systems Division, Fujifilm North America Corporation; Ryuta Masui, general manager, Fujifilm Europe Graphic Systems Division; Pete Kenehan, managing director, Fujifilm Specialty Ink Systems Limited; Jerry Avis, chief commercial officer, Fujifilm Specialty Ink Systems Limited.

Number of Employees: 1,250 (Ink World estimate).

Comments: A global leader in screen and digital inks, Fujifilm Sericol’s International saw the recession impact its screen ink business at the beginning of 2009. However, the digital ink side enjoyed modest growth, offsetting the decline in screen ink sales.

“Fujifilm Sericol International Ltd. started 2009 at a slow pace compared to historical sales due largely to the global economic recession that started in the final quarter of 2008,” said Mitch Bode, general manager, Sericol Unit, Graphic Systems Division, Fujifilm North America Corporation. “The global economic slowdown affected most all of our customers and markets, and reduced demand for both our consumables and equipment. 

Mr. Bode noted that digital inks were an exception, where sales growth was still achieved albeit at a slower pace than previous years. 

“The growth in digital was offset by modest declines in the traditional screen ink business,” he added. “There has been considerable decline in screen print output in the optical media market, and the print technology shift from screen to digital in the point-of-purchase graphics segment has also led to declining screen ink volume. The company has seen global growth in narrow web UV inks as well as growth in the sales of wide format media marketed in Europe under the Euromedia brand.”

The screen ink market has suffered due to the recession as well as the continuing growth of digital, but there has been some recovery as the economy improves. Meanwhile, the digital ink side of the business continues to grow.

“Market demand for graphic and industrial inks isn’t where it was before the onset of the global recession,” Mr. Bode said. “However, we have seen a recovery since September 2009 that has been sustained through the first quarter of this year. The demand for print has definitely begun to improve over the last several months. Our graphic screen ink volumes have been maintained due in part to the favorable cost of screenprinting especially with longer print runs. Industrial screen ink demand still lags historical volumes, but is also improving as a result of the improving economy. 

“Our digital ink business continues to grow, and we expect to see business get even better as the economy continues to turn around,” Mr. Bode added. “We have also noticed that sales of point of purchase graphics are improving as consumer confidence continues to strengthen.” 

Fujifilm Sericol anticipates growth in wide format inkjet as the demand for shorter print runs or multiple versions of jobs continues to rise, and Mr. Bode anticipates that UV inkjet will be particularly successful.

Fujifilm Sericol’s global operations continued to be integrated within regional Fujifilm graphics companies during 2009, and all of Fujifilm Sericol’s operating units have now been consolidated within Fujifilm. 

“Fujifilm’s objective in this company-wide organizational change is to better leverage all of the Fujifilm Sericol resources by getting those resources fully integrated into the Fujifilm graphic business worldwide,” Mr. Bode said. “Expectations are that this will provide a more efficient means of providing customers with the best possible service and support.”

As a result of the reorganization, there were several changes in leadership positions as a result of the worldwide integration of Fujifilm Sericol with Fujifilm Graphics companies. The Inkjet Systems Group of Fujifilm Sericol will continue to be responsible for the growth of the overall wide format inkjet business throughout the Fujifilm group and will develop next generation inkjet inks and develop new markets through differentiated inkjet technology. The group continues to be headed by managing director Pete Kenehan 

In Europe, all Fujifilm Sericol sales and marketing businesses will be integrated into Fujifilm units under the leadership of Ryuta Masui, general manager of Fujifilm Europe Graphic Systems Division. Jerry Avis, chief commercial officer, Europe, will take responsibility for all other Fujifilm Sericol European businesses and report to Mr. Masui. 

The Fujifilm Sericol USA unit will continue to be based in Kansas City and managed by Mr. Bode. The Sericol unit, including all employees and functional departments in the U.S. and Mexico, will be integrated into the Fujifilm Graphics Systems Division located in Hanover Park, IL. Mr. Bode will report to Sam Ota, president, Graphic Systems Division, Fujifilm North America Corporation.