Top Companies Report

2. Flint Group


North American Headquarters

14909 North Beck Road

Plymouth, MI 48170-7194

Phone: (734) 781-4600

Fax: (734) 781-4699


2012 Global Sales: US$3.0 billion/€2.2 billion. North American Ink Sales: $1.0 billion (Ink World estimate).


Major Products: Coldset and heatset web offset, sheetfed offset, flexographic, gravure and UV/EB inks; coatings for publication, packaging and commercial applications. A wide range of inks and coatings for narrow web tag and label applications. Photopolymer plates and sleeve systems for flexographic applications; highly engineered printing blankets and sleeves for offset applications; Full suite of pressroom chemicals and supplies. Dry, flushed and press cake pigments, chips and resins for ink and other applications, aqueous dispersions, hyperdispersants and additives for the colorant market.


Bill Milller

Key Personnel: Charles Knott, chairman; Antoine Fady, CEO; Michael J. Bissell, executive VP and CFO; Doug Aldred, president, Packaging and Narrow Web; William B. Miller, president, Print Media America/Print Media Europe; Brent Stephen, president, Asia Pacific; Adhemur Pilar, president, Latin America; Mario Busshoff, president, Flexographic Products; Craig Foster, president, Flint Group Pigments; Jan Paul van der Velde, senior VP, procurement; Russell Taylor, senior VP global HR and communications.


Number of Employees: Approximately 6,900 worldwide.


Comments: In 2012, Flint Group worked hard to overcome global economic challenges, add new customers and launch new products.


“2012 followed the general trend of the few years prior to it, and in all likelihood foreshadows the next few years,” said Bill Miller, president, Print Media Americas for Flint Group. “Keep in mind, that’s not all bad news. Though 2012 was tough, and though the economic recovery continued at a slower pace than we would have liked, we did see improvement, including growth in select print markets.


“In spite of the continued economic and industry challenges, Flint Group persevered,” Mr. Miller added. “We gained new customers, launched new products and forged new ground. Perhaps most importantly, Flint Group employees reached a powerful milestone in terms of safety. Our year-end total global incident rate was well below world-class levels.”


Flint Group emphasizes the importance of safety, and takes much pride in achieving these low global incident rates.


“Flint Group’s ongoing commitment to safety continued to pay off,” said Frank Mastria, vice president operations/global SHE. “Globally, our average recordable incident rate was lower than it has ever been – far better than industry averages. I am proud of the way Flint Group employees around the world have incorporated the safety culture into their daily lives.”


On a different front, Rodney Balmer, director of global research and product development –sheetfed inks, earned the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers’ (NAPIM) 2012 Printing Ink Pioneer Award. In his 25 years in the field. Mr. Balmer has shaped energy curable science across the globe. He has also led efforts on multiple patents, has written numerous white papers, and has spoken at many forums over the years.


“He certainly deserves this award,” Mr. Miller said.


Flint Group also introduced a number of new offerings –inks as well as other pressroom supplies they provide customers – to the North American print market, including the commercial and packaging sectors.


The raw material situation remains challenging, as some key ingredients have seen costs stabilize, while others remain volatile. Diane Parisi, vice president supply chain management for Flint Group, noted that either way, prices are now higher than in the past, and added that ongoing communication with customers is absolutely essential.

“From a raw material perspective, 2012 mirrored 2011,” said Ms. Parisi. “Cost volatility continued for many raw materials while stabilizing for some others, but at much higher levels than in the past. Geopolitical conditions and environmental factors – remember the hot summer and drought? – affected crop yields, creating tight supply of many materials. This medley of challenges is the new norm, though, and Flint Group’s global procurement team works with our suppliers and our colleagues to prepare for the trends and minimize any disruption these conditions may cause us and our customers.”


Moving forward, Flint Group’s leaders see opportunities for further growth across the printing spectrum.


“Flexible packaging and labels will continue to lead industry growth, and we also expect folding carton to continue a slow and steady increase,” said Grant Shouldice, vice president technology and marketing of the North American packaging group. “Flint Group’s Packaging & Narrow Web group launched a number of new and innovative products that will provide valuable momentum for our growth in 2012.”


“I’m confident that Flint Group will continue to be a leader in all the major graphic arts segments,” Mr. Miller added. “Year after year, we remain committed to offering high-quality products and expert support to our customers. That more than pays off, regardless of the economic and industry challenges we face.”