Top International Companies

By Staff | 11.16.05

The past year was one of tremendous changes, as major acquisitions such as the merger of Flint Ink and XSYS Print Solutions, Siegwerk Group's acquisition of SICPA Packaging Ink Division and Huber Group's acquisition of a majority share in Micro Inks dramatically reshaped the ink industry.

The International Rankings

(Ink and Graphic Arts Sales)

1. Dainippon Ink & Chemicals/Sun Chemical  $4.95B
2. Flint Ink $1.5B
3. XSYS Print Solutions $1.2B
4. Toyo Ink $1.12B
5. Sakata Inx $852M
6. SICPA $750M
7. Huber Group $580M
8. Siegwerk Group $512M
9. Tokyo Printing Ink $510M
10. Inctec Inc. $350M
11. Sericol International $275M
12. T&K Toka $250M
13. Dainichiseika Color & Chemicals $240M
14. Micro Inks $220M
15. Royal Dutch Printing Ink Van Son $150M
16. Epple Druckfarben $78M
17. Sanchez S.A. de C.V. $65M
18. Zeller+Gmelin $60M
19. Rieger Inks $55M
20. Ruco Druckfarben $44M
21. Encres Dubuit $34M
22. Brancher Company $31M
23. Cromos S.A. Tintas Graficas $29M

1. Dainippon Ink & Chemicals, Inc. (Including Sun Chemical Corporation)

Sales: DIC: $4.95 billion (529.4 billion yen) in graphic arts, including Sun Chemical, which is approaching $4 billion in sales. Total sales: $9.37 billion (1002.9 billion yen).

Major Products: Broad product portfolio with capabilities in web heatset and sheetfed offset; publication and packaging gravure; news ink and publication coldset; flexographic packaging inks; corrugated packaging inks; energy curable inks and coatings; screen inks, toner, inkjet materials, adhesives for packaging, overprint varnishes, specialty coatings, effect inks, security inks and coatings, printing consumables, and organic colorants for inks, plastics, paints, coatings and cosmetics.

Dr. Koji Oe, left, and Wes Lucas

Key Personnel: DIC’s major officers: Kozo Okumura, chairman; Koji Oe, president; Yasuhiro Horikoshi, managing director and president, graphic arts materials business operation; Toshihiro Sugai, executive VP, graphic arts materials business operation; Kazuo Sugie, executive managing director; Shinichi Sakamoto, regional managing director, DIC (China), Ltd.; Masayuki Saito, regional managing director, DIC Asia Pacific Pty. Ltd.

Sun Chemical’s major officers: Wes Lucas, chairman, president and CEO, Sun Chemical Corporation; Mel Cox, senior VP, general counsel and corporate secretary; Michael Griem, senior VP and president, North American Inks; Dr. David Hill, senior VP, technology and operations; Rudi Lenz, senior VP and CFO; John McKeown, senior VP, people services; David Meldram, senior VP and president, European Inks.

Additional DIC executives: Kazumi Sumita, division president, printing ink and supplies; Toru Uehara, division president, liquid ink; Akio Yorisue, division president, news ink; Mitsunobu Miyasaka, general manager, graphic arts technical dept.; Hideo Ishii, general manager, paste ink R&D; Hitoshi Nanimoto, general manager, liquid ink R&D.

Additional Sun Chemical executives: Gary Andrezejewski, VP, environmental affairs; Dr. Cynthia Arnold, CTO; Ronald Baker, president, US Ink; Scott Carcillo, CIO; Martin Cellérier, director of strategical planning, Sun Chemical Europe; Cheryl Davis, VP, people development; Stuart Foster, VP, supply chain and pigment manufacturing excellence; William Glass, VP, business development; John Gowlett, VP, European operations; Greg Lawson, VP and general manager, Latin American Inks; Brian Leen, VP and general manager, Performance Pigments; Mark Levin, president, North American Commercial Group; Ed Lovas, VP and controller; Richard Martin, global managing director, Coates Screen and Electrographics; Felipe Mellado, VP, marketing and technology, Sun Chemical Europe; Chris Morrissey, VP, corporate marketing; Charles Murray, VP and group managing director, Sun Chemical Europe; Carlo Musso, group managing director, Sun Chemical Europe; Chris Parrilli, president, North American Publication Inks; Richard Pettifor, president, North American Packaging Inks; Brad Schrader, VP, strategy and business development; Kevin Smith, VP and group managing director, Sun Chemical Europe; Craig Tompkins, VP, manufacturing and engineering, North American Inks.

Number of Employees: 26,750 (worldwide); 12,000 (Sun Chemical).

Comments: Dainippon Ink & Chemicals (DIC) and its subsidiary, Sun Chemical, had solid results during the past year, with overall growth of 3.6 percent in terms of U.S. dollars in its graphic arts operations. Geographically, both China and India increased sales significantly with double-digit growth. In terms of products, sheetfed, web offset and news color inks fared well in 2004.

DIC generally fared well in the first half of 2004. However, from July on, the oil price increase and severe competition in China began to squeeze the company’s operating margin, especially in the liquid ink market. In Asia (except Japan), DIC had 10.5 percent sales growth (in local currency base) in 2004, while in Japan, DIC had only 1.8 percent growth due to mature market conditions.

In April 2004, DIC entered into a joint venture with the Hongta Group, the largest cigarette manufacturer in Yunnan, China, to produce liquid ink mainly for cigarette packages.

Also, in September 2004, the second phase of the new production plant, Nantong DIC Color, was completed. With the new plant, Nantong DIC now has an integrated production capability to produce all the way from principal materials (pigment and varnish) to finished products (offset ink). DIC Vietnam will begin its operation early next year to serve growing local demand, especially for liquid inks.

While there has been consolidation in the U.S./Europe printing ink industry, some local manufacturers in Asia have begun to extend their operations to become Asia-wide players. Asia, and China especially, continues to experience positive year-over-year growth across the many segments of the print industry.

In an important move, Sun Chemical redeemed its shares in Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG), a joint venture established in 1998 between Eastman Kodak and Sun Chemical, in April 2005 for more than $800 million in cash payments.

“The successful redemption of Sun Chemical’s interest in KPG creates a significant opportunity for Sun Chemical to aggressively pursue its growth strategies,” said Wes Lucas, chairman, president and CEO. “This transaction will support development in several new markets, products and technologies, and ensure that we provide superior value to our customers in the inks, coatings and pigments markets.”

Sun Chemical also relocated its corporate headquarters to Parsippany, NJ, from Fort Lee, NJ, in the first quarter of 2005.

SunJet, the digital division of Sun Chemical and leading supplier of inkjet inks to OEMs, has established a full service manufacturing and technical support facility in Amelia, OH that will provide its customers the benefits of full scale manufacturing and technical support in North America.

“Sun Chemical has continued to execute its strategy of continuous improvement and enhancing customer productivity, technical innovation and expansion into growth areas such as digital, security, brand protection and other ink-related value-added markets, providing our customers the broadest range of offerings in the industry,” said Mr. Lucas.

As is the case for every ink manufacturer, raw materials prices and availability remain major concerns to DIC and Sun Chemical.

“In 2005, the ink and related print industries have faced continued pressures from cost increases and scarcity of raw materials,” said Chris Morrissey, corporate vice president, marketing. “Sun Chemical, as a result of these raw material increases, had price increases in ink and pigments to offset these cost increases in order to maintain a margin necessary to continue to maintain a satisfactory level of investment in technology and plants.”

“Given the importance of ink in the printing and converting process, and the required high level of technology, innovation, quality and reinvestment in plant equipment, it is necessary that the ink industry earn a return to support the printing and converting industries,” said Mr. Lucas. “We all need to recognize the value we can add to the industries we serve and to understand the key cost elements. It is our continued focus and commitment as the market leader to adapt to market conditions and offer the most compelling value.”

There were a number of key changes in leadership at Sun Chemical’s North American Inks. Michael Griem, formerly managing director of Sun Chemical Europe, replaced Michael Murphy as president of North American Inks (NAI).

NAI was also reorganized with divisions having a specific market focus that is customer driven and responsive. Chris Parrilli was named president, North American Publication Inks; Mark Levin was named president, North American Commercial Group; and Richard Pettifor continues in his role as president, North American Packaging Inks.

A key appointment to support the divisions and ongoing innovation is Rick Joyce, vice president technology, NAI, who joined Sun Chemical from General Electric Plastics, where he was GE’s global color technology manager.

DIC and Sun Chemical have continued to develop innovative new inks. For DIC, highlights include Web World New Advan, an environmentally-friendly heatset web offset process ink; Fusion G, a soybean oil-based sheetfed process ink; and Daicure Abilio, its new sheetfed UV process ink.

During the past year, Sun Chemical launched Kohl & Madden’s Liberty sheetfed inks, a breakthrough VOC-free technology that allows inks to stay open on press without drying for days, and which will dry virtually instantaneously once printed on substrate; SunJet Crystal URW UV curing white inks for inkjet printing; and SunJet Crystal SOV inks, which are approved by Xaar for use with their inkjet printheads. The company also announced the first commercial installation of a FastJet press for digital printing on corrugated packaging.

Sun Chemical added the UltraPrint universal ink and two Rycoline fountain solutions to its PrintEasy heatset product line of highly versatile inks formulated for use on specific grades of paper. Sun Chemical Europe has introduced the product SolarCat, which is the most advanced cationic UV flexo ink system of its kind in the world and at least two times faster curing than other products in the marketplace.

2. Flint Ink Corporation

Major Products: Cold and heatset web offset, sheetfed offset, flexographic, gravure, UV/EB and ink jet inks and coatings for publication, news, package, commercial and digital printing applications; advanced and conductive inks for radio frequency identification (RFID), smart/active labels and other printed electronics applications; dry, flushed and presscake pigments and aqueous dispersions.

Key Personnel: Leonard D. Frescoln, CEO; Michael J. Gannon, senior vice president, CFO and COO; William B. Miller, president, Flint Ink North America; Dr. Helmut Schmidt, CEO, Flint-Schmidt GmbH & Co. KG; Damian Johnson, president, Flint Ink India/Pacific; Jerko E. Rendic, president, Flint Ink Latin America; Henry Leong, president, Flint Ink Asia; W. Rucker Wickline, president, CDR Pigments & Dispersions; Dr. Kenneth D. Stack, president, Jetrion LLC.

Number of Employees: 4,400 worldwide.

Comments: The past year was one of dramatic change at Flint Ink. The sudden death of Flint Ink non-executive chairman H. Howard Flint on June 14 was a shock to the company and to the industry. Though unrelated, it was not long after that the announcement was made that an agreement had been reached with CVC Capital Partners for the acquisition of Flint Ink by XSYS Print Solutions, to be followed by a merger of the two companies. The merger was completed Sept. 30, 2005; a new name for the company, which will be the second-largest ink manufacturer worldwide, has yet to be determined.

Dave Frescoln
Between them, Flint Ink and XSYS Print Solutions combined for $2.6 billion in sales in 2004, and employed 8,000 people at 160 sites in 35 countries. The merger between Flint Ink and XSYS will allow the new company to have broader geographical reach and a more complete portfolio, among other benefits.

“The printing ink industry has remained fragmented at a time when our customers have expanded geographically to increase market reach while consolidating production to strengthen their market positions,” said Dave Frescoln, CEO of Flint Ink, who has been named CEO of the combined company. “Having the necessary size and reach to meet the demands of these global customers is absolutely critical if we are to remain a strong competitor in the future. By realizing the synergies of complementary product portfolios, regional representation, unsurpassed technical talent and a strong management team, the new company is well positioned to meet the continuing challenges of customer demands in a rapidly changing, worldwide market place.”

As for 2004, Flint Ink’s results were much as expected: that is, somewhat mixed across product lines and geographies.         

New products were among the highlights. The ArrowStar line of sheetfed inks and the ArrowLith UV coldset inks that were introduced at the end of 2004 were very well received by customers. More recently, ArrowStar UV and EB sheetfed inks were introduced. These inks are based on technology similar to that used in the ArrowLith UV inks, which received the PIA/GATF InterTech Technology Award for 2005. In Europe, the EuroStar line of coldset inks has also met with good success.

Continued and significant increases in costs of raw materials, energy, freight, containers and other supplies constrained margins, thereby affecting profitability even in markets where sales were strong.

The impact caused by raw material price increases has led to the need to raise ink prices, even in the face of heightened competition.

“Customer consolidation, coupled with continued fragmentation in the ink industry, has created a highly competitive situation,” said Kathryn P. Marx, vice president and CMO of Flint Ink. “The greater effect has come from outside of the print market in the form of rising petroleum and natural gas prices and, more importantly, lack of capacity to produce the derivative raw materials that are critical to ink manufacture. Recent hurricane damage has further crippled supply lines. The impact has been felt well beyond raw materials, driving increases in every aspect of our business. We foresee no relief, and have been forced to react by raising prices in all markets.”

On the positive side, the continued market trend toward digital printing has resulted in solid growth for Jetrion, Flint Ink’s digital business, which has seen triple-digit growth in each of its three years. Customer demand has been high, both for equipment and integration services, and led to the recent decision to build a new headquarters and manufacturing facility in Ypsilanti, MI. The new facility, which will be operational in early 2006, will be more than three times larger than Jetrion’s present space.

“Our new world headquarters allows us, under one roof, to show our customers our complete value proposition of ink and systems products and solutions,” said Dr. Kenneth Stack, president of Jetrion. “Our expanded manufacturing capacity will give us the capability to meet the rising requirements of our current customers and, equally important, will enable us to meet the strong, fast-growing worldwide demand for Jetrion’s innovative products.”


3. XSYS Print Solutions

Major Products: Sheetfed, heatset and coldset offset; packaging and publication gravure; water-, solvent-based and UV flexo; and a complete range of inks and services for the narrow web industry. Photopolymer plates for flexo printing. Pigments and resins for the ink industry.

Key Personnel: Peter Koivula, CEO; Mike Bissell, CFO; Ewald Draaijer, division manager, narrow web; Thomas Telser, division manager, printing plates; Dirk Aulbert, division manager, sheetfed offset; Roland Rusch, division manager, publication inks; Fredrik Danielsen, deputy division manager, packaging inks; Frank Scherhag, division manager, pigments and resins.

Number of Employees: 3,600.

Peter Koivula
Comments: It was a landmark year for the printing ink industry, with the formation of what was to become XSYS Print Solution in September 2004, when CVC Capital Partners acquired BASF Drucksysteme GmbH together with all printing system companies of BASF as well as ANI Printing Inks.

The new company, which was named XSYS in May 2005, combined for sales of €900 million ($1.2 billion) in 2004, making it the third-largest ink manufacturer in the world.

By July 20, CVC and XSYS pulled off the largest acquisition in the ink industry’s history by merging with Flint Ink, Ann Arbor, MI, the second-largest international ink manufacturer.

The merged group will rank among the largest ink companies in every region it serves, with an employee base of 8,000 and combined revenues of approximately US $ 2.6 billion (€2.1 billion), based on 2004 figures.

“The merger is in line with the consolidation plan which was announced last year in the context of CVC’s acquisition of ANI Printing Inks and BASF Printing Systems,” said Peter Koivula, CEO of XSYS and vice chairman of the new group, which has yet to be named.

“Now, through this combination of two well-known suppliers, we create a leading global supplier of complete printing system solutions,” Mr. Koivula said. “The combined R&D forces of both companies will result in even more innovation and technical support on a global base. That means that we now can offer better products and services for the graphics and packaging industry all over the world.”

“The consolidation of the ink industry, which took a drastic turn in 2005, is what everybody has been talking about for the last five to six years,” said Bertil Ahlberg, corporate communications director for XSYS Print Solutions.

“Now it finally happened, mainly within 12 months, with ANI, BASF, Flint, Siegwerk and SICPA creating two large world players and a smaller number of medium-sized companies,” Mr. Ahlberg said.

Prior to the acquisition, XSYS had a very strong year, gaining volume in all segments. However, price erosion continued, as the continued lack of capacity for raw materials and the increase in oil prices was combined with the difficulty of getting price increases through. Internal rationalization and increased effectiveness had to compensate to maintain profitability levels.


4. Toyo Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd.

Major Products: Heatset/coldset web, sheetfed, and waterless; news offset; solvent- and water-based flexo and gravure; conventional and waterless offset UV and EB; letterpress; functional silk screen; electronics and optronics; dry and liquid toners and inkjet inks; organic pigments, plastic colorants, resins and adhesives.

Kunio Sakuma
Key Personnel: Kunio Sakuma, president and CEO; Tsuneo Tanaka, executive vice president and COO; Norio Fukumura, senior managing director and CTO.

Number of Employees: 6,164 (consolidated).

Comments: In fiscal year 2004, ended March 31, 2005, Toyo Ink worked to enhance its performance, focusing on three themes: extending and evolving its enterprise by its operating power; maximizing saving tangible objects, capital and personnel in order to improve revenue; and striving to achieve corporate social responsibilities based operation.

In fiscal year 2004, economic conditions around Toyo Ink eroded because of higher than expected oil prices and an inventory adjustment in the IT market.

Against these situations, Toyo Ink group has been affected from plant clustering at its Saitama factory in its printing inks business. In its chemicals and media materials business, LCD color filter materials exhibited strong performance, and sales of inkjet inks, Toyo Ink’s new business, increased considerably. In addition, Toyo Ink’s new factory in Shanghai has started production of gravure inks, resins and adhesives.

As a result, Toyo Ink attained 6 percent sales growth as well as profit growth on both a consolidated and non-consolidated basis.

The company’s best growth came in its new media materials industry business. In media materials, although inventory adjustment decreased the rates of increase of sales in the second half of this fiscal year, sales of LCD color filter materials surged on increased demand for LCD televisions generated by the Athens Olympics. In addition, sales for mobile phone and digital camera showed good performance. Inkjet materials showed big progress because new products satisfied market needs. Meanwhile, coatings for recording materials showed strong performance as Toyo Ink offered high recording density products.

On the ink side, while the demand for sheetfed inks diminished, web offset inks and newspaper inks delivered strong results for Toyo Ink in the Tokyo and Chubu regions. As a result, Toyo Ink succeeded in achieving higher sales volume of offset inks than in the previous fiscal year in the Japanese market. Nevertheless, on-going price competition caused sales to have a sluggish performance. Overseas, newspaper inks were strong in China and offset inks expanded due to increase in demand in other Asian countries and by cultivating the market in Middle and Near East. Chinese markets have expanded due to the increase in consumer spending and the rising standard of living.

Sales of UV inks were strong due to expanded sales of hybrid inks that combine the advantages of solvent-based and soy-oil-based inks and extension of inks for use in plastic package containers.

Gravure ink sales in Japan were strong, thanks to expanded sales of products used in packaging materials and labels for the beverage can and pot noodle products, which offset the sluggish sales of gravure inks used in publishing and construction materials. In Southeast Asia, sales of gravure inks expanded.

In China, though temporary depreciation of organization expense accrued in connection with establishment of the new company at Shanghai, sales efforts were started at the end of the year and Toyo Ink’s new company pursues contribution to profit in the next fiscal year or later.

Still, conditions remained difficult due to rising raw material costs caused by soaring oil prices. Toyo Ink worked diligently to improve production efficiency and strengthen its production technology while also working to reduce its raw material costs.


5. Sakata INX Corp.

Major Products: Commercial offset, sheetfed, heatset, and newspaper offset inks; gravure inks for flexible packaging; flexo inks for corrugated carton and paper bag; metal decorating inks; UV/EB varnishes; and inks for ink jet printers.

Kazumi Suzuki
Key Personnel: Kazumi Suzuki, president; Masao Ikemoto, executive vice president; Hirotsugu Takamaru, senior vice president, sales, offset, news, gravure and corrugated; Hiroshi Ota, senior managing director, chairman, INX International Ink Co.; Mitsuru Kojima, managing director, general manager, production division; Masaaki Komori, managing director, information system department, finance and accounting department, international operation division, general manager corporate planning department; Yoshihiro Matsui, director and general manager, offset printing ink and graphic arts division; Hiroshi Osawa, director, general affairs department, purchasing department, sales administration department, general manager, human resources department; Goro Kato, director and general manager, corporate M&D division, packaging ink division; Masanori Kano, director and general manager, corporate R&D division and 2nd R&D department; Yoshiaki Uesaka, director and general manager, newspaper ink division.

Number of Employees: 2,780 (consolidated basis); 831 (non-consolidated basis).

Comments: Sakata INX had an excellent year in fiscal year 2005, with an overall sales growth of 5.5 percent compared to the previous fiscal year in its printing ink business worldwide, with excellent results recorded in Japan and Southeast Asia. In terms of products, liquid inks showed the strongest growth. The use of process color inks for newspapers has been increasing, so sales volume of process color inks is increasing. In addition, Sakata INX had excellent sales of the digital prepress equipment and its materials related to CTP.

The improvement in sales was also bolstered by INX International France S.A.S., which was acquired by INX International Ink Co., USA in May 2004.

In 2005, Sakata INX has nearly completed major expansion in the Asia-Pacific region, expanding new plants for offset ink in Indonesia, offset inks in India, offset inks in China and gravure inks in Japan in order to meet the demand at respective countries

Despite the sales increase, operational income declined 5.7 percent from 2004 due to the fall in the unit price of ink and the increases in raw material prices. Although the price increase of raw materials due to rising of naphtha price puts pressure on profits, Sakata INX is working to keep its present profits by using the basic technology to utilize any substitute high quality raw materials and by increasing the production efficiency through Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) activities.

New products continue to flow from Sakata INX’s top-flight R&D experts. In 2004, Color Management Solution System for newspaper and DT Ecopure Soy 8 Spec sheetfed offset inks for 8-color perfecters were launched, and in 2005, DT Ecopure Soy CL100X non-VOC sheetfed offset inks were introduced. Ecopure HP sheetfed offset inks, made in the U.S, were launched in 2005.

Having earned the reputation as “Environmentally Conscious Sakata INX” has been a source of tremendous price to the company, as developing and supplying environmentally friendly products to all customers is the most important and strategic issue for Sakata INX. Sakata INX continues to focus on the development of environmentally friendly products such as soy and non-VOC offset inks and non-toluene and non-MEK gravure inks.


6. SICPA Group

Major Products: Security inks and features for intaglio, offset, screen, gravure, flexo and inkjet printing of banknotes, documents of value and solutions for brand protection. OVI (Optically Variable Ink) for securing banknotes and identity documents. SICPAOasis dual authentication color-shifting ink for documents of value and brand protection applications. SICPATrace Track & Trace system for protecting government revenue from taxable goods.

Key Personnel: Maurice A. Amon and Philippe Amon, executive co-chairmen; Silvio Venturi, non-executive director for the group; Ernesto Traulsen, group CFO and operations director; Dr. Olivier Rozumek, chief technology officer.

Number of employees: 3,500.

Comments: SICPA Holding S.A. recently announced the completion of the divestment of its packaging inks business unit to Siegwerk Group. SICPA will now focus on its highly successful security inks and systems businesses for governments and global industry.

With entities in 17 countries on five continents, SICPA has a global reach and serves a worldwide customer base. This divestment of the packaging inks business unit was a fundamental cornerstone in the SICPA strategy of focusing on its security inks and product security businesses and strengthening its commitment to the provision of innovative technology for these businesses.

In preparation for the divestment, SICPA undertook an extensive organizational review and has revised its management and board structure to reflect and enhance the new SICPA structure. Jan Secher, CEO, will now step down.

Maurice A. Amon and Philippe Amon will assume the role of executive co-chairmen and Silvio Venturi has been appointed to non-executive director for the group. Ernesto Traulsen, group chief financial officer, will add a broader scope to his role as group operations director and will be responsible for certain of the day-to-day administrative operations of the company.

Frank Barker has been appointed as managing director of the Product Security business. Mr. Barker joins SICPA following a very distinguished career in business and customer information systems. Dr. Olivier Rozumek, the current managing director of the Product Security business, will assume the role of chief technology officer for SICPA.

In July 2005, SICPA purchased the liquid-crystal pigment business of Munich-based Wacker-Chemie GmbH. The purchase includes the know-how for applications in the security printing, industrial and decoration sectors. This acquisition will enable SICPA to further develop new optical effect and color-shifting ink technology across its security business and broaden its range of security applications into a variety of industrial markets.

In April 2005, SICPA acquired Swiss-based ALRO Information Systems, a company with strong expertise in electrical design and embedded software. For the past two years, ALRO has been the development partner for the SICPAMobile scanner that supports the SICPATrace Track & Trace system. Both acquisitions reconfirm the company’s intention to own and invest in unique and value-adding technology.

7. Huber Group

Major Products: Sheetfed, coldset and heatset offset inks; water- and solvent-based gravure inks; water- and solvent-based flexo inks; UV offset and flexo inks; security inks; and toners for laser printers and copiers.

Key Personnel: Heiner Ringer, managing director and marketing director; Dr. Erich Reich; managing director; Ursula Brogmann, technical director; Andreas Leidert, financial director.

Number of Employees: Approximately 2,170 worldwide.

Comments: On Oct. 24, the Huber Group made a major move, announcing it has acquired a majority stake between 50.5 percent and up to 59.06 percent in Micro Inks Ltd. The Huber Group will also launch the obligatory tender offer to acquire up to 20 percent of the shares of Micro Inks. The Bilakhia Group will continue to hold a minority interest in Micro Inks.

Once the transaction is completed, most likely by early 2006, the Huber Group anticipates having consolidated annual sales of $900 million.

The acquisition of Micro Inks Ltd. will make the Huber Group market leader in India and provide improved access to other fast-growing print markets in Asia. The company will gain modern manufacturing operations with significant capacity reserves, as well as backward integration ensuring uninterrupted supply of vital raw materials like pigments and resins at competitive price levels and in the volumes required.

“This move will secure the future of the Huber Group from a long-term point of view and will enable us to enhance our offerings to the customers,” said Heiner Ringer, managing director of the Huber Group. “We look forward to participate and utilize the excellent facilities and talent available in India.”

“Our group was at a crossroads of strategy in terms of widening the reach and improving the supply chain,” said Dr. Erich Reich, managing director of the Huber Group. “This opportunity has come at the right time, securing our long-term ability to supply high quality products to our customers.”

The Huber Group intends to continue operating all presently existing manufacturing facilities in Europe, North America and India. The additional facilities and production capacities will further improve the company’s ability to provide top quality ink products in any volume at competitive prices anywhere in the world.

As for 2004, Huber Group had a strong year, with sales increasing 4 percent in offset and liquid inks, achieving its goals for the year. However, raw material costs and the continued competition on pricing are major concerns.

“The biggest problem for 2005 is the drastic increase in raw material prices, especially caused by the increasing oil price and the increasing demand from China,” said Dr. Reich. “The only way here to react is by searching and finding new sources to get high-quality raw materials. Then again, it was nearly not possible to increase our ink prices because of the strong competition.

“The only possibility for succeeding this year is by increasing the volume and reducing the cost,” Dr. Reich said. “We have the feeling that we are on the right track for another good year.”

In order to maintain their success, Huber Group is further branching out its worldwide efforts.

“For us to remain successful, it is also of importance to become more global,” Dr. Reich said.

“That is the reason why Huber Group is taking further steps to improve its position in Asia, Eastern Europe and in South America,” Dr. Reich said. “We are convinced that in western Europe, the times of an increasing demand are over, and growth can only be generated in the former named areas.”

In the last year, the company has founded Hostmann Steinberg RUS in Moscow, Hostmann Steinberg A/S Denmark, Huber Group China in Hong Kong and Michael Huber Ukraine in Kiev.

One key to Huber Group’s success is its strong reputation for quality and service.

“For being successful on the market, it is still the most important thing that we are a trustful partner to all our stakeholders,” Dr. Reich said. “Huber Group is trying very hard to solve all the problems of its customers by supplying high quality products to them and providing good service. To give all our customers the information they need, the Ink Academy of the Huber Group is of very good help. The Ink Academy is a training and communication platform out of the day-by-day business established for our customers amongst themselves and being supported by the Huber Group staff.”

In terms of new products, Huber Group’s MGA inks, its patented series for food packaging, have proven to be successful. These inks have a very low migration through the various materials for packaging, thus complying with the legislative initiatives, which are becoming more and more stringent.

Dr. Reich said that Huber Group worries that the negative impact from REACH will be very big, not only because of the increasing costs for the ink producers alone. “Here, all European ink producers are in a comparable situation,” Dr. Reich said. “The much bigger problem will be the increasing import of finished printed products into Europe without any limitation – printed in areas where REACH is not effective.”

8. Siegwerk Group International

Major Products: Packaging inks for flexo and gravure, UV inks, publication gravure inks, heatset and coldset newspaper web offset inks, printing varnishes and printing auxiliary materials.

Herbert Forker
Key Personnel: Herbert Forker, president and CEO; Oliver Wittmann, CFO; Hugo Noordhoek Hegt, president, PPL packaging (plastic, paper, label); Ralf Hildenbrand, president, flexible packaging; Dr. Ansgar Nonn, president, publication and supply chain management Europe.

Number of Employees: 4,100 worldwide (with the addition of SICPA’s Packaging Ink Division).

Comments: A major power in the field of packaging inks coming into 2005, Siegwerk Group International acquisition of the packaging ink division of SICPA Group cemented the company’s leadership position. The sale, which closed Sept. 8, nearly doubled the size of Siegwerk, which becomes the fourth-largest international ink company with consolidated total net sales of €773 million ($930 million) in 2005.

The new entity will be called Siegwerk Ink Packaging, an operating company of the holding company Siegwerk Group International. Siegwerk Group International also holds a second operating company, Siegwerk Ink Publication. With consolidated total net sales of €613 million ($740 million) in the packaging ink segment, Siegwerk Ink Packaging emerged as the world’s second-largest manufacturer of packaging ink.

Siegwerk Ink Packaging is one of the world’s leading producers of advanced packaging ink for high quality packaging. The product range includes advanced ink for flexible packaging, tobacco packaging, labels, paper and board, sheetfed and UV and decorative applications. Siegwerk Ink Publication includes the business units Publication Gravure (market leader in Europe and Latin America), and Web Offset, a rapidly growing player in Europe. The newly combined Siegwerk Group is the world’s largest Europe-based printing ink company.

As a result of the acquisition. Siegwerk Group International added 2.800 people from SICPA Packaging Ink as well as entities in 36 countries, and the quality of the new people is a huge addition.

“The people working for Siegwerk and SICPA both come from a background shaped by a family-driven business culture focused on high quality and customer relationships,” said Herbert Forker, CEO of Siegwerk Group International. “As a result, our newly combined entity is ideally positioned for developing truly customized business solutions for each customer, large international clients as well as local packaging printers, in a way that leverages the expertise in the Siegwerk Technical Center in Siegburg and the application engineering support of the SICPA global network.”

The two companies are ideally positioned geographically. Siegwerk was strong in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, North Africa, Southeast Asia and, since the purchase of Color Converting, Inc. (CCI) in December 2003, also in the U.S. SICPA’s Packaging Ink Division supplements this positioning with its strong presence in Southern Europe, Turkey, Scandinavia and Russia including its neighboring states, South Africa, North America, South America as well as in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, including China, India and Australia. This allows the company to meet the needs of its international customers and to continue to grow in the quickly-expanding markets in Asia-Pacific, Southern and Eastern Europe and Latin America. Additionally, the product portfolio of the two companies also is an ideal fit.

“In Asia, for example, market researchers are expecting the production of quality packaging products to increase tenfold by 2010,” Mr. Forker said. “Similarly, consumer buying patterns in Southern and Eastern Europe are shifting towards increased purchasing of packaged goods. Thanks to our rigorous focus on quality packaging ink, we anticipate having a significant share in this growth.”

The company’s 2004 results showed nice growth, particularly in the U.S. with its CCI business, as well as implementing successful cost-cutting programs. The best results were in the U.S. packaging ink market and in web offset in Eastern and Southern Europe.


9. Tokyo Printing Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd.

Major Products: Sheetfed and heatset offset inks; gravure inks for paper, plastic film and other applications.

Atsuo Ohashi
Key Personnel: Atsuo Ohashi, president; Kenzou Kawaziri and Yoshihiko Yokota, senior managing directors; Yasumori Tanaka, managing technical director.

Number of Employees: 736.

Comments: Established in 1923, Tokyo Printing Ink remains one of the leading Japanese printing ink manufacturers, with four offset ink and one gravure ink factories in Japan. In 2004, Tokyo Printing Ink enjoyed a slight increase in sales, as the company’s sales rose 1.7 percent.

Tokyo Printing Ink’s major product lines are its Zipset offset inks, including sheetfed, heatset, coldset, UV, metallic, rubber-based and magnetic inks and process and Pantone colors, as well as in jet inks and dry toners. In addition to ink, the company manufactures synthetic resins, color and additive concentrates and compounds and other chemical products.

The company also has alliances throughout the Asia Pacific region, as well as in Mexico and the U.S., where it has a subsidiary, Tokyo Printing Ink Corporation U.S.A., located in Rancho Dominguez, CA.    

Tokyo Printing Ink continued its strong emphasis on environmental concerns in 2005, receiving ISO 14001 certification for its factories in Toki and Yoshino in July.


10. Inctec Inc.

Major Products: Sheetfed, web offset (heatset, coldset), waterless, UV offset, news, solvent-based and water-based gravure, UV/water-based flexo, digital ink and toner.

Shigemitsu Hatakeyama
Key Personnel: Shigemitsu Hatakeyama, president; Tomio Koike, senior executive officer, sales division; Takao Suzuki and Makoto Isshiki, senior executive officers, manufacturing and technical division.

Number of Employees: 840.

Comments: In fiscal  year 2004, Inctec Inc. increased sales approximately 5.5 percent compared with the previous fiscal year through energetic sales expansion in chemical products and through improving the efficiency of manufacturing equipment, and as a result, profit was the highest in record.

However, it was a tough year for conventional inks. For news inks, sales of color inks increased due to increasing color pages, but sales decreased for black inks so in total, sales expanded only slightly. On the other hand, sales of web offset inks, Inctec Inc.’s main products, didn’t increase because of tough competition in cost.

Inctec Inc. has released two new soy-based sheetfed offset process inks in 2004, both of which were designed with environmental considerations in mind. SOIBI SF P-3 is a quick drying ink developed to adapt to printers’ requirements for short time of delivery, while SOIBI GT is especially designed to be used for eight color printing machines for both BB and reverse type press.

In 2005, Inctec Inc. continued its dedication to developing environmentally friendly inks by introducing Waterless S VF, a waterless and non-VOC sheetfed offset ink, to the market.


11. Fujifilm Sericol International Ltd

Major Products: UV screen, UV flexo, UV digital (piezo ink jet), solvent-based digital and solvent-based screen inks; screen pre-press; Inca Digital Presses.

Ed Carhart
Key Personnel: Ed Carhart, CEO Sericol International; Jerry Avis, strategy and business development director; Mitch Bode, senior VP, North America; Tony Sleight, regional director Asia/Pacific; Peter Kenehan, managing director – Europe; Malcolm Frier, HR director; Roy Wiles, finance director.

Number of Employees: 1,250.

Comments: This year saw a new beginning for Sericol, now as a member of the global Fujifilm organization. Fujifilm completed its acquisition of Sericol International on March 1, 2005. In the time since, Sericol management has spent a lot of time becoming familiar with the many facets of Fujifilm’s business and exploring synergies within the graphics printing market.

“Since joining Fujifilm earlier this year we have gained a better understanding of the vast array of resources and support our new parent is able to provide,” said Ed Carhart, CEO.

Aside from the change in company ownership, Fujifilm Sericol continues to have success around the world. Sericol capitalized on the growth in wide format digital printing in 2004 and 2005, showing sales gains in all regions of the world.

Its position as a leader in the sale of high productivity, high quality flatbed digital presses was further enhanced with the introduction of the Inca Columbia Turbo in 2004 and the Inca Spyder 320 this year. Now with more than 150 installations worldwide, the Inca digital platforms, combined with Sericol’s Uvijet UV ink systems, continue to set the standard in the wide format graphics market.

The past 12 months have also seen tremendous growth in Fujifilm Sericol’s solvent digital ink business. The Color+ line of solvent digital inks for grand format printers are now in use worldwide, providing numerous benefits including stronger colors, finer print detail and increased productivity. The Color+ line is quickly expanding to include inks for several new wide and superwide printer platforms.

In addition to developments in digital printing, Sericol’s core business segments have continued to progress through the introduction of new, high quality ink ranges, complemented by value-added services. North America and Europe have seen strong performance with the UVivid range of UV flexo inks for narrow web labels, while UV screen inks for industrial applications flourished in all regions of the world.

The year has not been without its challenges, however, as escalating raw material costs and the threat of material shortages remain a constant reminder of the volatile nature of the printing inks industry in 2005

“Raw material prices and transportation costs have been rising on a steady basis as crude oil and natural gas prices have persistently risen to new record highs,” said Mitch Bode, senior vice president, Fujifilm Sericol USA Inc. “In most cases we have been forced to absorb these increases. While we have and will continue to work aggressively to reduce our operating costs, if the raw material increases continue to rise, we will be forced to pass them through to the market.”

Fujifilm Sericol is cautiously optimistic about the prospects for the balance of 2005. “We remain confident in our product and service offering but concerned about rising raw material prices and its damaging effect on the health and profitability of the industry,” Mr. Carhart said. “This industry cannot continue to absorb cost increases while continuing to invest in technology and the many other aspects of customer support. In addition, the stagnant and low growth economies of most of Western Europe makes doing business in this region more challenging. However, we do expect screen printing to hold its own while we see continued strong growth in digital and UV flexo printing.”


12. T&K Toka Co. Ltd.

Major Products: UV offset, letterpress, flexo and screen inks; sheetfed offset inks; web offset heatset inks; waterless offset inks; gravure and flexo packaging inks; water-based varnishes; metal decorating products.

Key Personnel: Ryozo Masuda, president; Kazushige Nagai, senior managing director; Morita Hiroshi, manager of overseas division; K. Yoshimoto, marketing director; Y. Ikeda, technical director.

Number of Employees: 600.

Comments: Since its founding in 1947, T&K Toka has been a leading Japanese printing ink manufacturer, specializing in UV inks. The T&K in the company’s name stands for Technology and Kindness, which emphasizes its commitment to its customers.

In addition to its headquarters in Japan, the company has operations in China, Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Bangladesh, and a U.S. distributor, Top Level Ink in Dallas, TX.

Among its best known products are its Supertek Plus and Bestack offset inks and Best Cure UV inks.

T&K Toka had an excellent year in 2004, with sales growth of 10.5 percent. However, as is the case with every ink company, T&K Toka is facing higher raw material costs, and is working on becoming more cost efficient. The company continues to develop new technologies, such as its new UV curing ink for high-tech industries and its BW Shot, a high performance ink for commercial web.

13. Dainichiseika Color & Chemicals 

Major Products: Sheetfed, heatset, waterless and UV offset, gravure and specialty inks; security and banknote inks; and overprint varnishes.

Key Personnel: Osamu Takahashi, president and chairman of the board; Minoru Yamamoto, vice president, composite printing systems; Mineo Tosa, senior managing director, prepared color and chemicals group; Shigemitsu Yamazaki, senior managing director, general affairs and personnel; Koji Takahashi, senior managing director, corporate administration department; Keisuke Yamamoto, managing director, composite printing systems, offset; Michiei Nakamura, managing director, technical research center and technology commercialization office; Kazuhiko Arai, director, finance, sales and manufacturing, business headquarters office; Yoshihisa Makino, director, Western Japanese sales.

Number of Employees: 2,538 (colorants and printing inks; 3,298 (worldwide).

Comments: Dainichiseika Color & Chemicals had a strong year in 2004, with sales up 4.3 percent overall. The colorants and printing inks division’s sales rose 5.6 percent to 104,630 million yen. These gains were attributed to the generally steady economic recovery in Japan, where nearly two-thirds of the company’s sales originate from, and growth in exports, particularly in the U.S., China and Thailand, although there were concerns in the second half of the year due to increasing raw material costs.

To meet the challenges form raw materials, Dainichiseika Color & Chemicals worked to improve manufacturing efficiency and to lower costs of manufactured goods through rationalization and comprehensive cost-cutting measures while increasing its own prices.

The company is working on introducing more environmentally responsive, high-performance products.

In March 2005, Dainichiseika Color & Chemicals added Yamamoto Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd. to its group of consolidated subsidiaries, which now includes 55 affiliated companies. It also eliminated Advanced Polymer, Inc. from the group following its sale of the shares of that company.

14. Micro Inks Limited

Major Products: Heatset, coldset and sheetfed offset inks; packaging and publication gravure inks; packaging flexo inks; UV inks and coatings; metal deco inks; and raw materials, including pigments, flushes, resins, varnishes and additives.

Key Personnel: Yunus Bilakhia, chairman; Anjum Bilakhia, managing director; Ashwani Bhardwaj, COO; James Mahony, president and CEO, Micro Inks Corporation, USA; Snehal Shah, director, international business; R.Y. Kamat, director, domestic sales; Tarak Buch, vice president – international business; Anil Jain, vice president – technical; Coumara Radja, general manager – international business and corporate communications.

Number of Employees: Approximately 1,190.

Micro Inks' headquarters in Gujarat, India
Comments: In a major move, the Huber Group has agreed to form an alliance with Micro Inks Ltd., and acquired a majority stake between 50.5 percent and up to 59.06 percent in Micro Inks on Oct. 24. The Bilakhia Group will continue to hold a minority interest in Micro Inks. The Huber Group will also launch the obligatory tender offer to acquire up to 20 percent of the shares of Micro Inks.

Micro Inks Ltd. is particularly strong in India and North America, and the acquisition will allow the company to further expand its global distribution network. Micro Inks manufactures inks for all printing processes, with backward integration in pigments, flushes and resins that are vital components for the manufacturing of printing inks.

“Micro has in a single move catapulted from its current position to be one of the global leaders,” said Yunus Bilakhia, chairman of Micro Inks. “We as principal shareholders decided in favor of this alliance after careful consideration of cultural aspects, integration and the inherent risks which Micro faced in a rapidly consolidating printing inks business. Our stated goal of professionalizing all our businesses is met and we will continue to actively support this new global entity at the board and shareholders levels.”

“In addition to our existing partnership with Bayer Cropscience in Bilag, this is another enduring long-term alliance in the ink industry, and we look forward to integrating our two businesses,” said Anjum Bilakhia, managing director of Micro Inks. “This alliance will open doors to our employees to tap their inherent talent and to work with a global leader in the ink industry.”

While the Huber Group will appoint the majority of the board members in Micro Inks, it is proposed that the positions of chairman and managing director will continue to be occupied by the Bilakhia Group for an agreed period. The Huber Group will appoint an executive vice chairman and managing director.

As for 2004, Micro Inks Limited had a tremendous year, with sales growing 28 percent and making gains worldwide, with international sales increasing 62 percent.

“The year was a momentous year of growth and consolidation for Micro Inks,” said Coumara Radja, general manager – international business and corporate communications for Micro Inks. “Having crossed the critical inflexion point in the previous year, the current year saw our dreams of building a globally competitive and profitable company realized. The successful outcome has reiterated and reassured our belief, conviction and confidence in our business model, business strategies, leadership and management capabilities.”

The company’s gains were across the board, with international revenues of more than $125 million, impressive figures considering the company has only been selling inks outside of India for the past five years.

“In 2000, we took a major strategic initiative to build a globally competitive business and made an initial foray in North America by establishing an ink manufacturing facility at Kankakee near Chicago,” Mr. Radja said. “We simultaneously gained a footprint, expanded our reach and penetration in other overseas markets of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. In a span of just five years, we have emerged as the 11th largest ink company in North America and established our presence in more than 70 countries.”

During the past year, Micro Inks has established subsidiaries in other key growth markets including China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia to further strengthen its global delivery and service.

Meanwhile, Mr. Radja said that Micro Inks registered a growth of 16 percent in its domestic market, maintaining the company’s market leadership and dominance locally.

Micro Inks has relied on its leadership and business model to navigate the changing marketplace.

“Though the company emerged as a strong international company in last three years due to its robust business model, prudent business strategy, strong leadership and management, it had to overcome many risks and challenges posed by the slowdown in the U.S. economy, war/conflicts in Asia and rising commodity prices, including oil,” Mr. Radja said. “These risks and challenges have been effectively countered head-on by our strong management team and have met with a lot of success so far.”

Mr. Radja noted that there are still challenges to be met.

“The U.S. economy continues to be under watch, though some gradual recovery is visible, due to its rising twin deficits and a resultant weaker U.S. dollar,” he said. “The Euro zone is beset with deep structural problems and has delivered a growth rate of 2.2 percent in 2004, and is expected to deliver a weak economic growth of just 1.4 percent in the current calendar year. Customer sentiments in the U.S. and Europe continue to be cautious. India, China and some Asian countries continue to maintain their growth momentum. Over the next few years, the world is expected to witness structural changes and may undergo adjustments arising out of growth in Asian countries and relatively weaker economic growth in U.S. and Europe.

“Businesses are redefining their strategies, leading to a lot of consolidation and churning, phenomena equally applicable to the ink industry as well, a result of the changing economic landscape in favor of low cost competitive economies from the developed economies of U.S. and Europe,” Mr. Radja added. “An imminent possibility of devaluation of Chinese yuan may bring about a new set of changes and challenges. Rising commodity prices including spiraling oil prices shall continue to impact raw material costs and put pressure on operating margins.

“Amidst all these challenges, the most successful companies are the ones which shall anticipate and manage such risks,” he said. “Our unique business model, wide spectrum of product portfolio, research and development strengths, vertical and horizontal integration and geographical/customer diversification shall offer us the much required strength and diversity to mitigate some of these risks. Our leadership and management capabilities will help us to overcome some of these challenges.”

While the costs of printing inks have increased tremendously worldwide, driven by the unprecedented increase in the crude oil price in the world market among other critical concerns, Mr. Radja said that Micro Inks has been able to control its costs.

“While the increase in the above costs will affect the entire printing manufacturing industry across the globe, at Micro Inks we have more control on the quality and cost of production than many other manufacturers in the world due to our complete backward integration and seamless manufacturing process,” Mr. Radja said. “We critically track the competitive global prices of the intermediates of the raw materials. We have medium and long-term contractual agreements with suppliers for the basic raw material and a proactive global sourcing team that monitors the global price movements.”

Micro Inks also has an ongoing cost containment program, with teams examining costs throughout the system, and Mr. Radja added the company’s ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) SAP information system is further improving productivity and enhancing quality.

Among its recent innovations, Micro Inks has introduced the world’s first Ink ATM (Any Time Micro), which puts to end to manual color matching system. Micro Inks ATM promises the printers consistent high quality ink, from color request to final ink in less than one hour. Micro Inks ATM is backed with the latest ink matching software and automated and flexible production equipment. Using Micro Inks Pantone-approved basic colors, special color bases and leftover ink, one can calculate the recipe for the right mixture with reliability and precision, which will help minimize ink inventory. The company also introduced its lines of press chemicals.


15. Royal Dutch Printing Ink Factories Van Son

Major Products: Vs5 series, Quickson Plus, Quickson MultiFresh and Signature offset inks; Aqua Base Plus series water-based flexo inks; Van Son ArtColour and Van Son EasyPrint ink jet inks.

Key Personnel: Paul M. Brouwer, president.

Number of Employees: 280 (Ink World estimate).

Comments: Royal Dutch Printing Ink Factories Van Son continued to post solid results during 2004, with offset and flexo offering good results.

In the U.S., the company continues to make gains with its Vs5 series of commercial sheetfed inks, expanding its unique distribution network of printing ink manufacturers themselves, who in most cases sell locally their own brands, but have added the Vs5 inks to their line.

By setting up this network, Van Son can provide commercial printers the local service and technical support they are looking for.

At Print 05, Van Son Ink introduced Quickson PRO, its latest addition to the Quickson oil-based sheetfed ink series, a high-performance, competitively priced ink.

16. Epple Druckfarben AG

Major Products: Sheetfed inks; inks for perfecting presses; flexo and UV inks; varnishes, fountain solutions and printing additives.

Key Personnel: Joachim Erlach, executive board; Dr. Klaus-Dieter Schröter, executive board; Edgar Buck, executive board.

Number of Employees: 185.

Comments: Epple Druckfarben AG, an Augsburg, Germany-based sheetfed ink specialist, has had a strong year in 2004, posting 18 percent growth boosted in part by its development and introduction of new products at Drupa 2004’s Print City. To meet the increasing interest in its inks, Epple Druckfarben has made a considerable investment in new production capacity.

In particular, the company’s introduction of its Starbrite UV and UV-foil series of hybrid UV inks, which are low odor and offer high gloss, have drawn attention of the growing hybrid printing segment. In April, KBA and FOGRA awarded the first hybrid-accredited certificates of approval and quality seals to the selection of inks that had already passed all the tests, including Starbrite.

In addition, Epple Druckfarben’s Low Ghost Series, which reduces the risk of ghost effects and turning yellow on critical printing substrates, is faring very well, as is its migration-reduced inks. The company’s Aniva color system, which it said brings photographic quality to offset printing, is doing very well, and Epple Druckfarben has added its Aniva Print Power series for perfecting. The company is also working on brand security ink systems.

In particular, the company’s close partnership with KBA has resulted in a variety of arrangements, including the hybrid association. Epple Druckfarben’s Aniva series of waterless sheetfed inks have been showcased with KBA’s 46 Karat DI waterless offset press. This combination creates photo-realistic image reproduction in sheetfed offset at a maximum production output of 7,000 sheets per hour in 460mm x 340mm format while addressing future trends in ecological production without VOCs and chemicals.

17. Sanchez SA de CV

Major Products: Offset, flexo, gravure and screen inks and overprint varnishes.

Key Personnel: Ernesto J. Sanchez, managing director; Jose Sanchez, commercial director (paste inks); Miguel Talamantes, commercial director (liquid inks); Jesus McKelligan, operations director; Salvador Duran, technical manager (paste inks); Agustin Lozano, technical manager (liquid inks).

Number of Employees: 740.

Comments: 2004 was a very good year for Sanchez SA de CV, the leading printing ink manufacturer in Mexico. The company continued to show greater growth than the economy and the market in Mexico. The GDP grew 4.4 percent, while Sanchez managed to grow 14 percent in kilos, to 18,819 tons, and 8.2 percent in terms of value in U.S. dollars.

The company also continued to expand its sales efforts in Mexico and throughout Central America.

“In Central America we are expanding our activities to Costa Rica, and at the end of 2004 we bought our long time distributor in southeast Mexico, Proveedora Grafica S A, in order to increase our level of service in cities like Merida and Cancun,” said Ernesto J. Sanchez, managing director of Sanchez SA de CV.

Raw material pricing remains a major concern for Sanchez SA de CV.

“I guess the rest of the industry is having the same problem as Sanchez in dealing with raw material shortage and price increases,” said Mr. Sanchez. “We have approached this issue by being more efficient in our processes, and by trying to find more sources for our raw materials.”

Meanwhile, Sanchez SA de CV has concluded its modernization project, including its offset ink plant in Mexico City, in time for its 75th anniversary.

“Our capital expenditure program included expanding our raw material and finished product warehouses, where we managed to increase our storage capacity dramatically, and right now we are about to finish construction of our offset plant,” said Mr. Sanchez. “With this, we will be ending the rejuvenation of all our manufacturing facilities in the past five years. This included our solvent- and water-based plants, our labs, our warehouses and our offset plant. With all our facilities modernized, we are ready to celebrate our 75th anniversary.”

18. Zeller+Gmelin GmbH

Major Products: UV web, sheetfed, narrow web label and waterless offset inks; UV flexo and letterpress narrow web inks; UV rotary screen inks; UV inks for pre-formed plastic containers; UV inks for primographic printing of narrow web in-line cartons and labels; oil-based intaglio inks for printing currency; and a range of security inks for document authentication.

Key Personnel: Andreas Mahlich, group managing director; Dr. Helmut Specht, group financial director; Rolf Schneider, group production director.

Ink Division: Alex Stevenson, head of ink division and managing director, Intercolor UK; Marcus Ruckstaedter, marketing director, Germany; Damon Geer, marketing director, U.S.; Mark Bowman, marketing director, UK; Dirk van Lieshout, marketing director, Holland; Per Thomsen, marketing director, Denmark; Dr. Heinz Schweiger, technical director, Germany; Steven Lazure, technical director. U.S.; Clive Surridge, technical director, UK; Dr. Francois Pierron, technical director, France.

Number of Employees: 260 (Ink Division only).

Comments: For Zeller & Gmelin (Z+G), 2004 was an excellent year, with the UV ink specialist enjoying 7 percent growth and excellent results worldwide.

“2004 was a very good year for Z+G,” said Alex Stevenson, head of the ink division. “The star performer was our U.S. division, where we came up with some great new narrow web products – especially for the popular sleeving process – both free radical and cationic UV flexo products, several interesting varnishes and UV curable adhesives. Germany had an excellent year in UV narrow web film products, again mainly due to the surge of interest in sleeving, including shrink, stretch and wraparound. In the UK, Intercolor is now possibly the UK market leader in narrow web, and also has a patent applied for its newly developed metallic lustre measurement system.”

Mr. Stevenson said that the advances being made in flexography are remarkable.

“The continuing unopposed advance of the flexo process and the increased use of laser engraved plates means higher demand for perfectly dispersed and highly pigmented systems,” Mr. Stevenson said. “I was told back in the 1970s that it was physically impossible to get any more pigment into our inks – especially UV – and we now have almost double in some systems.”

Mr. Stevenson said that the packaging market is changing, as more production moves to Central Europe and Asia, and companies have to evolve in order to stay ahead.

“Packaging is steadily moving east,” Mr. Stevenson said. I tracked 60 tons of lost UV packaging business from our UK company over two years, and I found it in Russia, Hungary and Poland. I also tracked another 50 tons of business lost from Central Europe, and found it in India, China and Vietnam.

“We react by following it, investing in quality distributors, training and communication,” Mr. Stevenson said. “One of Intercolor’s top UK clients is now producing in India, Indonesia and China – and still buying our inks. We communicate by remote spectrophotometric color matching and video conference. It works well.”

Z+G was prepared for the higher raw material costs, although they remain a serious concern.

“We saw it coming, we moved early, and in many instances struck strategic deals with long-term suppliers,” Mr. Stevenson said. “This has minimized, but not removed, the problem. Naturally we took a big hit like everybody else, but we were also confident enough to raise our prices where fair and where our technical lead over desperate competitors allowed. Sadly, that wasn’t everywhere.”

The company’s new French subsidiary is doing well in its first full year, and there may be expansion into new areas in the next five years. Meanwhile, Z+G’s new corporate headquarters are now fully functional in Eislingen, Germany. The entire technical and administration center is combined in a fine new building, which Mr. Stevenson said has dramatically improved communication and teamwork.

Z+G is always at the forefront of new technology, and 2005 brought forth a wide variety of new products, including Uvasleeve, a complete range of UV products, flexo, offset and rotary screen for shrink, stretch, and wraparound sleeves for plastic containers; the Nuvaflex 32 series from the U.S.; and a UV adhesive for shrink sleeving, also from the U.S.

19. Rieger Inks

Major Products: Offset inks, water- and solvent-based flexo and gravure inks.

Key Personnel: Robert Rieger, president and CEO; Chester Dec, vice president, operations; Debbie Dion, CFO; Willy Voelzke, technical director, Rieger Printing Ink; Dave Hammett, technical director, Rieger Flexo and Gravure.

Number of employees: 100.

Comments: Rieger Inks is an ISO 9001 certified company that consists of two divisions: Rieger Printing Ink Company Limited, which specializes in cold web inks, and Rieger Flexo and Gravure Limited, which specializes in water- and solvent-based inks. Rieger Inks is committed to providing the graphic arts industry worldwide with top quality ink products along with uncompromising technical and sales support. Rieger’s success is a result of the drive to put “Customer Satisfaction First.”

Rieger Inks had an outstanding year in 2004, with its sales growing 10 percent. In particular, Rieger Inks’ best results were in cold web printing in the U.S.

Rieger Inks prides itself on its excellent quality. In recent years, the speed of web offset presses has been ever increasing, and numerous modifications have been made in formulating to maintain high quality printing. Through these changes, Rieger Inks has continued to excel at producing a superior product to serve the printing industry.

R&D is a major strength of Rieger Inks, and the company is always working on new products to best serve the needs of its customers. Rieger Inks’ Flexo and Gravure Division has developed a new line of cationic inks for the flooring industry, and as always, the company is continuously creating new formulations to better serve all aspects of its target market in the printing industry.

“Here at Rieger Inks, we are doing our best to continue to make superior quality inks available to our customers at a competitive and reasonable price,” said Chester Dec, vice president of operations. “In this respect we have continued to strive to maintain lower pricing by absorbing the continually rising cost of raw materials. Recently a slight increase in pricing has been made to our inks to cover just a fraction of our raw material price increases. With regards to raw material shortages, Rieger Inks is always striving to find new and improved sources of raw materials so we can continue to do our best to serve the printing industry.”

20. Ruco Druckfarben/A.M. Ramp & Co. GmbH

Major Products: Publication gravure, full line of packaging gravure and flexo including UV flexo, a full line of silkscreen letterpress and pad printing inks, and UV waterless offset.

Key Personnel: Heinz Walter Menke, managing director. Publication gravure, flexographic printing, special gravure division: Florian Weitbrecht, sales manager; Dr. Wilfried Wiegeler, head of laboratory. Screen printing, pad printing, offset printing division: Jürgen Schmidkunz, division manager, sales manager/Germany ; Volker Michel, division manager, export sales manager; Dr. Christel Mueller, laboratory manager. Alfred Beckers, regional director, Asia Pacific.

Number of Employees: 200 (Ink World estimate).

Comments: Ruco Druckfarben/A.M. Ramp & Co. GmbH is a leader in screen, pad printing, UV, flexo and gravure. More than 55 percent of its sales are exported, with the company’s sales force and distributors reaching out to more than 70 nations.

Ruco Druckfarben consistently develops a wide variety of new products. At FESPA 2005, the company introduced a host of new products, including its new T40 series of pad printing inks, which are free from aromatic compounds and cyclohexanones, and due to its fast drying process, they are suitable for pad printing machines with speeds of up to 4,000 pieces per minute. The company’s new 900UV/CD opaque white is a high-yield screen printing opaque white that is suitable for decorating optical discs of any format, and offers good surface smoothness, high opacity and minimum shrinking

Ruco Druckfarben also launched its UV printing inks for waterless offset printing, suitable for printing optical discs such as CDs and DVD; UV scratch off screen printing inks which offer outstanding flexibility; ink-jet printable varnishes for the printing of recordable media such as CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R and DVD-RW; and 935UV inks for glass printing, which offers excellent resistance properties and does not require subsequent thermal treatment.

21. Encres Dubuit

Major Products: Screen printing, offset, flexo, UV and specialty inks.

Key Personnel: Jacques Mounier, president, board of trustees; Jean-Louis Dubuit, president; Philippe Duminy, director general; Arnaud Maquinghen, commercial and marketing director; Olivier Cocagne, export director; Jean-Pierre Vives, director of R&D; Christelle Ferrari, director of administration and finances; Stephane Greffard, quality control manager.

Number of Employees: 207.

Comments: Encres Dubuit, a UV ink specialist, had a strong year in 2004, with sales increasing to €25.4 million from €24.8 million in 2003, an increase of 2.4 percent. With the exchange rate, that comes to $34.7 million. There was solid growth of 4.7 percent in UV inks, and the label market grew 11 percent for Encres Dubuit.

For Encres Dubuit, the best news came from its Brazilian subsidiary, Dubuit Color, which recorded 30.2 percent sales growth in 2004, to €3,690,000. Encres Dubuit acquired the final 13 percent of the company in 2004, and now has 100 percent ownership of the subsidiary.

Encres Dubuit Shanghai Co. Ltd., which opened for business in 2003 and supports the Chinese label industry, posted outstanding growth, increasing its sales by 357 percent to €429,000 from €120,000 in 2003.

The news from Dubuit Canada was nowhere near as good. Dubuit Canada’s sales declined 22.8 percent to €1,360,000, and Encres Dubuit’s leadership reportedly is considering its options there in light of its underperformance.

The company has also expressed interest in acquisitions, and is looking to grow its market share in Germany and also in the UK.

22. Brancher Company      

Major Products: Offset, flexo and UV inks.

Key Personnel: Olivier Brancher, president; Stephane Atoumo, international development director; Jean Marie Planchon, purchase director; Guillaume Proust, finance director; Thierry Dabadie, technical director.

Number of Employees: 145.

Comments: Brancher Company, a sheetfed offset, flexo and UV specialist, relies on new products and service for its success. The export side of its business remains strong, with exports nearing 25 percent of its total sales. Brancher Central Europe, based in Warsaw, has done very well since it was founded in 2000, and the company has connections in China, Russia and Singapore.

At Drupa 2004, Brancher introduced a variety of new products, including its Dayamix color mixing station, approved by Brancher’s Colorimetric Expertise Center, producing spot colors under rigorous tolerances for offset, flexo and UV. Brancher also launched its Smart Up products, which include security ink, luminescent, thermochromic, erasable and mirror effects ink for UV flexo and offset, as well as new varnishes.

23. Cromos S.A. Tintas Graficas

Major Products: Sheetfed, heatset, coldest, metalgraphic, solvent- and water-based flexo and gravure, UV offset and security inks.

Key Personnel: Jacques Antonio Aubry, president and CEO; Gero Pluecker, vice president; Glauco Tarrone, marketing manager; Celeste Magacho, technical manager.

Number of Employees: 280.

Cromos S.A. Tintas Graficas' headquarters are in Rio De Janerio, Brazil
Comments: 2004 was a year of change for Cromos S.A. Tintas Graficas, a leading Brazilian ink manufacturer, as the company decided to change its marketing strategy. As a result, Cromos increased its number of customers, and decided to cancel “bad sales.” It proved to be the right decision for the company. In addition, the company decided to reduce its overhead during the second half of 2004, in order to better compete with the low prices being offered in its markets.

As a result, Cromos officials are very confident that with the changes that were made, their company will be strong enough to compete with the international players in Brazil and South America.

With the Brazilian economy continuing to grow during the past year, printing ink companies anticipated strong overall growth of 4.5 percent. Cromos S.A. Tintas Graficas continues to share in the growth, with 90 percent of its ink being sold domestically. Sao Paulo is its most important region for business, and Cromos is investing in the south of Brazil and in other areas, including Minas Gerais.

While Cromos presently exports 10 percent of its ink to other South American nations, the company expects to double that share in 2006, focusing on sales in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador. To make these gains, the company has expanded its export department.

Among the company’s strengths is the offset market, where it controls approximately one-third of the market, and metal deco inks. Cromos S.A. Tintas Graficas’ primary business is in sheetfed offset ink. The company is also active in water-based flexo ink for kraft paper; solvent- and water-based gravure inks; packaging inks for flexo and gravure for flexible film; security inks; metal graphic ink for conventional three-piece can lithography; special inks for metallic decoration of steel and aluminum cans; and UV inks for offset, metal decorating and flexographic products. The company is investing more of its resources into solvent-based flexo inks and UV inks. In 2005, Cromos launched its new Evolution sheetfed offset UV ink system, and the company also introduced ancillary products for the graphic arts business., and is preparing more new products for 2006.

During the past year, Cromos S.A. Tintas Graficas introduced Cromos Express, in which the company will ship ink within six hours in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Parana. The company also takes pride in its quality: for the sixth consecutive year, Cromos received the Fernando Pini Award for Graphic Excellence, and also earned the Werner Klatt Prize of Graphical Excellency.