M&A Activity Continues to Rise Among Ink Manufacturers, Suppliers

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 01.21.11

For ink manufacturers, the consolidation of the supply chain has been a serious concern, but there also has been activity during the past year on the ink side. The printingink industry again saw a major acquisition, as Siegwerk acquired Environmental Inks & Coatings (EIC) in December.

Siegwerk’s acquisition of EIC makes a lot of sense, as the packaging segment is much healthier than the publication/commercial business. EIC is a specialist in water-based inks for the narrow web label market in the Americas, with sales reportedly of $40 million in 2010. Siegwerk’s main business is in flexible packaging, which is dominated by solvent-based ink technologies. For Siegwerk, the acquisition of EIC gives the company a much stronger position in the label and narrow web field. As a family-owned company, EC will fit in nicely with Siegwerk.

There was, however, potentially larger news on the ink front, as Toyo Ink increased its share of Sakata INX to more than 16 percent by purchasing 3 million shares of Sakata INX’s stock. These two major multi-national ink specialists have a history of working together; there has not been much information released as to what is behind Toyo Ink’s purchase of the additional shares, or what the end result will be.

Still, compared to what is occurring on the supplier side of the ink business, the printing ink industry is standing still. In the last two months, no less than four major mergers and acquisitions were either finalized or begun.

In December, BASF successfully completed its acquisition of Cognis Holding GmbH. Arkema announced its plans to acquire the Coatings Resins (Cray Valley and Cook Composite Polymers) and Photocure Resins (Sartomer) businesses of Total’s Specialty Chemicals. Royal DSM N.V. announced that it intends to acquire a 51% stake in AGI Corporation of Taiwan. Momentive Specialty Chemicals Inc. announced that it signed a definitive agreement to sell its global Ink & Adhesive Resins (IAR) business to Harima Chemicals, Inc., a leading producer of pine-based products.

For the buyers, these acquisitions all offer increased range of products as well as increasing capabilities globally. For printing ink manufacturers, these acquisitions will reshape the supply chain, and will likely be followed with more consolidation in the future.