The printing ink industry mirrors its customers in the printing business. During the past few years, a few clear trends have emerged. Packaging and digital printing continues to grow, as do ink suppliers in these segments, while publication and conventional sheetfed printing sales shrink. Consolidation continues to play a major role in printing, and this, too, impacts ink companies.
In this year’s edition of the North American Top 20 Report, packaging draws most of the attention from the top companies. Invariably, the top executives we spoke with talked about the growth they are seeing in packaging, whether it is flexible, narrow web or even corrugated. The largest ink merger in the past year occurred between two packaging ink specialists, as American Inks & Coatings (13th in Ink World’s 2013’s North American Top 20) is awaiting final approval on its acquisition of Color Resolutions International (19th in last year’s North American Top 20). Depending on the company, growing opportunities in inkjet and UV are also in the forefront.
The ink manufacturers who have positions in the publication and sheetfed ink markets are quite honest in their assessments for the future of these fields. They know that there is no going back to the good old days anymore. These are leaner times for these segments, and as major printers merge – R.R. Donnelley acquiring Consolidated Graphics being a prime example – opportunities in the market will be fewer for ink suppliers.
That’s not to say that publication and sheetfed ink manufacturers have little hope. Ink suppliers in these markets are surviving; it takes hard work and a close eye on expenses, but there are opportunities.
Regardless of the markets, ink industry executives say they are hopeful for a strong year in 2014. Time will tell if their optimism is well founded.
North American Ink Sales
Global Ink Sales (Parent)
|1||Sun Chemical||$1,500*||$3,500 (Sun Chemical)**||1|
|2||Flint Group||$1,000*||$2,900 (Flint Group)||2|
|3||INX International||$375||$1,230 (Sakata INX)||3|
|5||Siegwerk||$215||$1,310 (Siegwerk Group)||5|
|6||DuPont Ink Jet||$175*||6|
|8||Hostmann-Steinberg||$150||$1,090 (Huber Group)||8|
|9||Sanchez SA de CV||$131||9|
|10||Toyo Ink America||$105||$1,390 (Toyo Ink)||10|
|11||American Inks & Coatings||$100||13|
|13||Fujifilm FFIC||$90*||$375* (Fujifilm)||12|
|16||SICPA Securink||$60*||$400* (SICPA Group)||16|
|16||Van Son||$60*||$130* (Royal Dutch Van Son)||16|
* Ink World estimate
** Parent company DIC Corporation has global ink sales of $3.78 billion