Toyo Ink to Acquire Fluid Ink Technology's Assets

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 04.08.10

In the past year, there has been M&A activity on the packaging ink side, as four mid-sized packaging ink manufacturers companies have been acquired. Last week, in keeping with this trend, Toyo Ink International Corp., a member of the Toyo Ink Group, acquired specified assets from Fluid Ink Technology, Inc., Moorpark, CA.

Fluid Ink Technology is known for its wide range of flexo, gravure and UV inks for the flexible packaging, paper packaging and label printing markets, both wide and narrow web applications.

In addition, Toyo Ink formed a new subsidiary, Toyo Ink Technologies, LLC, which will assume ownership of all of Fluid Ink Technology's intellectual property formulas, brands, certain equipment and employment of certain sales and technical teams. With the acquisition, the Toyo Ink Group, a leader in packaging innovation throughout Asia, will strengthen its position in the U.S. packaging inks sector.

Meanwhile, Fluid Ink Technology will continue to exist under a new name, Conversion Technology Co., Inc., and will provide products and support for Toyo Ink Technologies from its two locations in Moorpark, CA and Plainfield, NJ.

“Fluid Ink Technology has a longstanding reputation for product reliability and unparalleled customer support. The addition of its name, technology and sales and technical teams instantly boosts Toyo Ink’s presence in North America,” said Mamoru Sasajima, Toyo Ink International’s president. “Toyo Ink also remains dedicated to local production. The new venture enhances our ability to better meet local demand for a sustained competitive advantage.”

“The combination of the Toyo Ink Group and Fluid Ink Technology brings significant new synergies to the table,” said Jim Newkirk, president of Fluid Ink Technology, Inc. “The strength of our combined product, service and technology portfolio will create tremendous growth opportunities and customer value for years to come. It’s a win-win situation for all involved.”

Mr. Sasajima noted that Toyo Ink will offer Fluid Ink's customers an expanded product line and the buying power of a global entity.

Mr. Sasajima noted that discussions had taken place between the two companies for nearly a year, and that Toyo Ink Technologies has hired close to half of Fluid Ink Technology's work force so far. He added that he expected that the chances of future integration and/or alliances with Conversion Technology Co., Inc. are high.

In October 2008, Toyo Ink launched its new $20 million manufacturing facility in Bryan, TX, which included packaging inks. Mr. Sasajima said that adding Conversion Technology Co.’s capabilities offers excellent benefits for Toyo Ink.

“The increase in manufacturing capabilities in the U.S. is in keeping with our commitment to local manufacturers and of further benefit to all of our customers since the production facilities are in different geographical areas, thereby increasing availability and decreasing susceptibility to adverse weather conditions,” said Mr. Sasajima.

The Packaging Ink Market and M&A Activity

Since June 2009, there have been four acquisitions of packaging ink manufacturers:

• Handschy Industries: Acquired by Sun Chemical (June 2009)
• Water Ink Technologies: Acquired by ALTANA (July 2009)
• Torda Ink: Acquired by Flint Group (February 2010)
• Fluid Ink Technology: Acquired by Toyo Ink Group (April 2010)

What has been the cause of this trend? In terms of the major ink segments, the recession has had the least impact on the packaging ink market. Still, the economy did affect all companies’ margins, and that may have played a role.

Meanwhile, due to the market’s stability, larger ink companies are interested in growing in the packaging segment. Each of the companies that was acquired had sales somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 million, and had developed successful niches in packaging that made consolidation attractive.