A Time of Change and Opportunity For the Printing Ink Industry

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 04.10.06

As we head into the second quarter of 2006, there has been a brief opportunity for ink industry leaders to take stock of where the industry stands. With the exception of INX International Ink Company and Nazdar acquiring Triangle Digital and Lyson, Ltd., respectively, the first part of 2006 has been relatively quiet in terms of mergers and acquisitions.

Meanwhile, ink manufacturers are examining their own operations in light of higher raw material and operational costs. As industry leaders we spoke with noted in our comprehensive U.S. Top 20 Report, beginning on page 18, and Companies to Watch, starting on page 58, ink companies were forced to raise prices to try to keep up with higher costs. In most cases, these ink price increases have held up, allowing ink manufacturers to cover at least some of the higher prices they are facing. It is also clear that ink companies are working hard to develop new opportunities for growth during these changing times.

It is a time for change for many aspects of the industry. For example, Eastern Europe is becoming a growth area for printing, both in terms of domestic consumption and exports, as Sean Milmo details in his article beginning on page 14.

We are also seeing the further emergence of Flint Group, as its leaders continue to integrate Flint Ink and XSYS Print Solutions into a powerful $2.7 billion ink manufacturer. In our story beginning on page 65, Flint Group’s leaders discuss the company’s accomplishments and potential.

April also is a time for the ink industry, its customers and its suppliers to showcase their capabilities and new technologies at a wide range of trade shows.

In particular, there are four important shows during April, beginning with IPEX 2006 in Birmingham, UK, from April 4-11,where many ink manufacturers will feature their products. The Color Pigment Manufacturers Association (CPMA) will be holding International Color Pigment Conference, A Global Perspective, April 18-20 in Chicago, IL.

e|5: UV & EB Technology Conference & Expo 2006, featuring the latest in UV and EB technologies, will be held at Lakeside Center at McCormick Place, Chicago, IL from April 24-26. Beginning on April 30, FFTA Forum and InfoFlex Exhibition, The Inside Track to Success, will be held in Louisville, KY. This program allows ink makers to showcase new products and services for the flexo market. All in all, it is a busy time indeed for the ink industry.

David Savastano
Ink World Editor