Looking Back on 2005, and Looking Ahead to 2006

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 12.12.05

For the printing ink industry, there has never been a year like 2005. Mergers and acquisitions, which have been scarce in the past few years, dominated the news. Consider these highlights:

• March 1: Fujifilm acquired Sericol International (estimated 2005 sales of $275 million);

• June 16: Siegwerk Group acquired SICPA’s Packaging Ink Division (estimated annual sales of $400 million);

• July 20: Flint Ink and XSYS Print Solutions agree to merge (combined 2005 sales: $2.6 billion);

• Aug. 3: Altana Chemie acquires Eckart Group (2004 sales of $412 million);

• Oct. 24: Huber Group acquires majority stake in Micro Inks (2005 sales of $220 million).

No deal was larger than CVC Capital Partners, the venture capital company that formed XSYS Print Solutions by acquiring BASF Drucksysteme and ANI Printing Inks in 2004, and later purchased Flint Ink in July. This ranks as the largest deal ever made in the ink industry, as Flint Ink generated $1.5 billion in sales in 2005. Together, the two companies had combined sales of $2.6 billion last year, making the new company, whose name has yet to be announced, the second-largest international printing ink manufacturer behind Dainippon Ink & Chemicals/Sun Chemical.

Each of these deals had specific goals, whether it was to branch out geographically, secure supply chains or add to product portfolios. In addition, the companies will be better able to serve their international customers, and will have increased purchasing leverage.

There was other major news in 2005, much of it centering on the continued pressure on raw material prices and supply, which have led in turn to ink manufacturers seeking price increases.

The ink industry has had an active year in 2005. To find out more on what industry leaders anticipate in the coming year, please see our comprehensive “Year in Review” report beginning on page 20.

Considering what has happened in 2005, there are plenty of questions to be answered in 2006. There seems to be a consensus that more mergers and acquisitions will be coming. Only time will tell.

David Savastano
Ink World Editor