The Dawn of Color Resolutions International

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 09.02.05

Led by VP/GM George Sickinger, Borden Chemical employees buy division and form their own printing ink company.

For many years, there have been rumors that Borden Chemical was considering selling off its printing ink division, which wasn’t a core business for Borden.

Still, the ink division has been successful in the corrugated market, primarily supplying water-based and UV inks for containers, folding cartons, rigid plastic containers and other specialty applications. This success made the company an attractive target for purchase.

An acquisition agreement has now been announced, but unlike most such purchases, Borden Chemical’s printing ink division is not going to another company. Rather, it has been purchased by a group of present Borden Chemical printing ink employees, led by vice president and general manager George Sickinger; the closing is expected by the end of November.

The new company they have formed is Color Resolutions International LLC, and this business should hit the ground running: presently, Borden Chemical is the second-largest printing ink supplier for the corrugated market, and the company’s expertise allows it to provide the best possible service. More than 140 key people are coming with Color Resolutions International, which gives it the expertise to maintain its present market standing.

Decision to Privatize
Mr. Sickinger, Color Resolutions International’s new president and CEO, said that Borden Chemical’s employees and customers played a major role in his decision to find financing for Color Resolutions International.

“I’ve asked myself why I am doing this, and it’s because it’s the right thing to do,” Mr. Sickinger said. “It’s really the best thing for our employees and our customers. An awful lot of people would have been out of work. I went to a lot of customers, and I got a lot of support because in our market the consolidation among ink companies has not been a plus.”

The idea for Mr. Sickinger to take over the business came about a year ago, when he was actively looking for someone to purchase the printing ink division.

“Borden asked me to find a strategic buyer and I looked around,” Mr. Sickinger said. “Then someone suggested that I do it. Borden threw out a price, and it made sense.”

Mr. Sickinger then worked to find a financing partner, and found Stonehenge Partners, Inc., a Columbus, OH investment group that would offer the right mix of talents while allowing Mr. Sickinger to maintain economic control of the company.

Color Resolutions International’s name reflects the importance of color for packaging.

“A lot of care went into selecting the name,” Mr. Sickinger said. “Our business is providing color that helps sell or otherwise differentiate packaging. However, it is not the simple manufacturing of an infinite number of hues. In our markets, color is applied to a wide variety of substrates and press configurations, and formulations must often be customized to address these conditions.

“This is where Color Resolutions comes in,” Mr. Sickinger said. “We provide answers or resolutions to the application of color.”

As for the International portion of its name, Mr. Sickinger noted that the company does a little business outside of the U.S., but that “a number of our major domestic customers have plants or alliances overseas and call on us for assistance. We stand ready to support them wherever the need is.”

For the time being, Color Resolutions International will continue at its manufacturing facility at 630 Glendale-Milford Road in Cincinnati, OH. Mr. Sickinger anticipates that a new facility will be in place after the three-year lease it receives on the present location is up.

“Future needs include not only a new manufacturing site but also an expansion of our ‘hub and spoke’ distribution network, which was started some years ago by the Borden manufacturing team.,” Mr. Sickinger said.

“The Cincinnati plant will continue to be the hub doing the centralizedmanufacturing, product development, color matching, accounting, etc.,” Mr. Sickinger noted. “We work with 14 independent blending sites that meet local customer specifications using intermediates and formulas from the Cincinnati plant. The system allows us to enjoy economy of scale while meeting local demand.”

Color Resolutions International parts company on a very amicable basis with Borden Chemical. “Borden is to be commended for working to sell the business to management as it provides the maximum benefit to both employees and customers,” Mr. Sickinger said. “Borden is very people-oriented and very fair.”

“This is an excellent transaction for both companies,” said Michael Ducey, Borden Chemical’s CEO. “The ink business, while profitable for Borden Chemical, was not a strategic fit with our core resins and adhesives business. George Sickinger and the Color Resolutions team have tremendous experience in the ink business, and will be better able to focus on growing the business.”

Indeed, Mr. Sickinger has a strong background to lead his new company. He began in an ink laboratory at Interchemical in the early 1960s while majoring in chemistry at college before moving into the sales and management end. “I really like matching colors and formulating inks,’ Mr. Sickinger said. “It was more like cooking.”

After nine years with Interchemical and Inmont, Mr. Sickinger worked with Sun Chemical as a branch manager in Texas, then headed to Borden. There were some rough times when the division lost money, but it has prospered in recent years.

“We’ve done very well,” Mr. Sickinger said. “Last year was our best year in 20 years.”

Mr. Sickinger anticipates that Color Resolutions International will maintain its successful position in the corrugated market. “Our people are very good at it,” Mr. Sickinger said. “We know the business, and we have the broadest lines. We can address any need.”

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