85551 Kirchheim Heimstetten
Sales: $1.082 billion (€815 million).
Major Products: Sheetfed, coldset and heatset offset inks; solvent-based gravure inks for packaging; water- and solvent-based flexo inks for packaging; UV offset and flexo inks; security inks; screen inks; fountain solutions, varnishes and transfer inks.
Key Personnel: Ursula Borgmann, chairman, R&D, Technology; Ashwani Bhardwaj, management, Asia and North America; Heiner Klokkers, management, Europe and South America; Michael Geiger, CFO.
Number of Employees: 3,600 worldwide.
Comments: hubergroup enjoyed a relatively solid year in 2013, with sales remaining stable in terms of dollars.
“Overall, hubergroup’s financial data improved in 2013 compared to 2012,” said Robert Doerffel, corporate communications Europe for hubergroup. “Sales turnover declined slightly only due to significant fluctuations in some exchange rates. Nevertheless, we were able to grow business, especially in packaging offset and liquid businesses. We are not forecasting any major market dynamics in Europe and Americas, but we are predicting volume increases in the Asian region.”
hubergroup consists of 40 regionally operating ink manufacturing companies, with well known names such as Michael Huber München, Micro Inks, Hostmann-Steinberg, Gleitsmann, Stehlin Hostag and Tipolit. The company’s inks cover the full gamut of publication and packaging printing. However, the publication market continues to offer challenges.
“A shrinking print sector is having impact on all ink makers. Continuous structural adjustments are part of a regular process irrespective of regions and markets,” said Doerffel. “In such a competitive environment, quality and pricing are in a harsh battle and none of them may be sacrificed.”
On the other hand, UV packaging printing business offers opportunities for hubergroup. The company’s latest product introductions include the NewV ink series for iron-doped UV-dryers and the Gecko PU ink system for high-quality lamination applications.
“We plan to invest especially in our liquid inks and our UV inks sectors, plus the connected and adequate investments in personnel,” Doerffel noted.
In an important move, hubergroup is working on merging the two German legal entities to streamline processes and increase efficiency, in order to strengthen specific competence centers and reduce complexity of products for the single manufacturing sites. Doerffel added that hubergroup is further investing in its business and its organization.
“We acquired Este Inks, a water-based ink manufacturer in New Zealand,” Doerffel concluded. “We are working on several efficiency projects worldwide, but our main objective is to continue to meet our customer expectations in terms of service and quality and work on continuous improvements wherever possible. For the coming year, we are going to add some more innovative products in our target business areas.”