The Year in Review

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 11.15.12

Ink manufacturers report that 2012 brought higher sales, but concerns over publication and commercial printing and the overall economy remain.

Charles Murray

Bill Miller

Herbert Forker

Rick Clendenning

John Copeland

Geoffrey Peters

Doug Aldred

Felipe Mellado

Ed Pruitt
The past few years have been difficult for printing ink manufacturers, as the industry has been buffeted from numerous directions. Its printing customers, particularly on the publication and commercial sheetfed side, have been in a sharp decline due to the rise of the Internet, digital technologies and the global recession.

Meanwhile, suppliers, faced with their own challenges due to the economic downturn, either withdrew from their markets, thus limiting availability of key raw materials, or raised prices dramatically for their ink customers. Ink manufacturers, in turn, found it difficult to raise prices, so they took a further hit on the bottom line.

There is good news to be found. Packaging printing has done fairly well, and some volumes have come back in the markets that have been heavily impacted in recent years. Ink industry executives say that 2012 was a slight improvement over the previous year, but still is nowhere near pre-recession levels.

“Overall, Sun Chemical had a comparable year to 2011 in that it continued to recover volume in all sectors,” said Charles Murray, president, North American Inks, Sun Chemical. “However, many of the same challenges that Sun Chemical and our industry in general faced in 2011 continue to persist in 2012.”

Mr. Murray noted that the publication and commercial sheetfed markets are struggling.

“The commercial sheetfed market continues to struggle as companies cut back on their marketing collateral and other printing needs,” Mr. Murray said. “The publication printing market, including newspapers worldwide, continues to lose ground in 2012. In both of these cases, the movement to the Internet and other electronic alternatives as well as consolidation have been the key drivers for the continued downturn. The market shift in the publications market has been drastic. Sales in this market have not recovered to pre-recession levels and we don’t expect that they will.”

Packaging remains a solid market for Sun Chemical, which saw moderate growth in 2012.

“Sun Chemical will continue to see growth in the flexible packaging segment, specifically value-added packaging, as the trend in the market continues to move towards functional and sensory packaging,” Mr. Murray said. “The packaging market faces different challenges than other market segments, such as migration in Europe, the push toward smaller package size, recyclability, and other efforts to reduce the impact of packaging on the environment, but these challenges are great opportunities for growth at Sun Chemical. We’re working with brand owners and major packaging groups to provide them with solutions for specialized packaging of the future.

“In all cases and markets, our customers are relying on Sun Chemical to maintain an intense focus on value and cost, and we’re doing this by making significant investments in manufacturing, processes and products, despite the difficult economic times,” Mr. Murray added. “We see these updates to our manufacturing capabilities as investment in our customers. It is another way to live up to our goals and promise as a company to provide our customers with quality, service and innovation.”

Siegwerk CEO Herbert Forker said that Siegwerk did well in 2012, as the company was able to increase its financial performance and grow as planned in the emerging markets.

“Our focus on packaging inks especially paid off, benefiting from rising demands, especially in countries like China and India, where we have a strong presence,” Mr. Forker said. “However, like our competitors, we are still facing high raw material prices and the publication ink market is decreasing even faster than expected. Overall, we are confident that we will close the year 2012 with a good result.”

“Overall, Wikoff sales are on pace for good growth in 2012 compared to 2011, and while the overall markets are not as strong as they were before 2008, we are pleased with our performance,” said Geoffrey A. Peters, president and CEO, Wikoff Color.

Rick Clendenning, president and CEO of INX International Ink Co., said that while 2012 was an improvement for INX, the company was forced to push through price increases and reduce costs further.

“This year at INX has shown improvement over 2011, mainly due to our price increase initiatives to recover from the continued rising costs of our raw materials and some internal cost savings actions that we implemented,” said Mr. Clendenning. “The price increases we instituted were not easy. There is always resistance to these types of actions, but we absolutely needed everything we asked for in relation to raw materials.

“Our cost savings actions were difficult. It was mostly limited to closing more of our field operations locations in the U.S. that were mainly used for blending and distributing inks to local area customers only,” Mr. Clendenning added. “These actions are always difficult as they involve people. However, we need to continue to drive costs out of our own system in light of the unprecedented raw material increases we have taken from our suppliers last year and in 2012.”

Bill Miller, president, Print Media for Flint Group, said that all things considered, Flint Group did well in 2012.

“Considering that the industry continued to face serious uphill battles against the economy and online communications, Flint Group did well in 2012,” said Bill Miller, president, Print Media for Flint Group. “We worked as closely as ever with customers to help them compete in areas of quality, sustainability and value. Internally, our day-to-day focus on long-term goals had a big impact. For example, our employees stayed focused on safety, we continued to do what we could to minimize raw material costs and working capital expenses, we streamlined product lines where beneficial and we offered innovations in a number of categories. All told, we were pleased with our internal improvements and customer successes.”

“In terms of sales, Toyo Ink America fared better in 2012 than 2011,” said John Copeland, president and COO, Toyo Ink America, LLC. “Sales are up for our paste, liquid and chemical product lines in solid single digits, while growth for UV products are up nearly 20%.”

“The markets we focus on in the packaging area have been stagnant at best,” said George Sickinger, president and CEO, Color Resolutions International. “Additionally, consolidation in the customer base is resulting in a squeeze in margins. However, converters who have invested in new equipment for value-added work seem to be doing much better and has been a good growth area for us this year. We will need overall economic growth before we see market growth.”

Recovery Underway

While ink manufacturers say that there has been some overall improvement in the market, the results are mixed. Mr. Forker noted that results vary between regions and products.

“It is a mixed picture,” Mr. Forker said. “There are regions like Asia and Latin America where we encounter a rising demand for inks, but there are also lowlights. The publication gravure and heatset markets show disastrous tendencies, and I am not expecting any long-term recovery here. Additionally, after all the fluctuations on the raw material availabilities and price negotiations, our margins have still not returned to our expectations; we will surely have to work on that in 2013.”

“Our industry, like many others, is not yet in a recovery mode,” Mr. Miller said. “We’d like to think that an economic recovery will kick-start an industry recovery, but for now, the ink and printing industries are still managing through a very difficult environment.”

Mr. Copeland said he is seeing some improvement in commercial sheetfed.

“We are seeing improvement on the commercial side over the last few months,” Mr. Copeland said. “It’s difficult to know if it is a temporary rise in business due to the election or other factors. Whether this is a true recovery or not is a puzzle.”

Ink industry executives noted that packaging printing has shown the strongest results.

“We are starting to see recovery in certain segments of our business, mainly in our packaging markets,” Mr. Clendenning said.

“The commercial end of our business continues to decline due to the decrease in overall printing on this side of the coin,” Mr. Clendenning added. “I don’t see any change forthcoming for this segment, which is disappointing for everyone involved in commercial printing.”

“A number of markets in the printing industry, especially packaging and label, have ‘recovered’ nicely, but there are a few that are struggling,” Mr. Peters said. “In the ink industry, a number of companies are experiencing decent top line growth, but bottom line growth continues to be under pressure due to raw material costs remaining at relatively high levels compared to prior years.”

Mr. Sickinger said that niche converters are doing better than most.

“The value-added converter who is sharply focused on niche markets seems to be doing quite well,” Mr. Sickinger said. “Over the years, CRI has focused on such companies with the belief that you build a strong business if you target strong customers.”

Raw Materials

During the past few years, raw materials have created dual problems for ink manufacturers. Pricing has been volatile, with dramatic increases coming from virtually every raw material segment, and ink manufacturers have been unable to pass along all of these costs. As a result, margins have suffered. According to the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) 2011 State of the Industry Report, the ink manufacturers surveyed by the association recorded a -1.9% earnings before interest and taxes, or EBIT, and higher raw material costs are a critical factor.

The availability of raw materials is the other challenge. The economic downturn of a few years ago led to some suppliers withdrawing from markets, while other manufacturers focus on selling their materials to larger industries. Either way, ink companies are being squeezed.

The good news is that there has been some stability in pricing during 2012, and availability of most raw materials has improved. The problem is that higher prices are the new norm, and there are certain key ingredients that remain concerns.

Doug Aldred, Flint Group’s president, Packaging and Narrow Web Europe and North America, said that 2012 is the third year in a row that the ink industry has seen rising raw material costs.

“By comparison, 2012 appeared more stable, with some materials stabilizing and availability improving,” Mr. Aldred noted. “Costs continued upward, but at a slower rate. The accumulated cost increases have not worked their way through the supply chain. Therefore, residual cost increases combined with additional raw material increases expected in the next two quarters will continue to pressure the industry. Of course, we are all burdened with rising energy costs, transport costs, and packaging costs – these things will continue to affect everyone in our industry supply chain.”

“Wikoff continued to manage its supply chain effectively in 2012 and had very few issues with raw material availability.,” Mr. Peters said. “By working closely with our raw material suppliers, we were able to keep the supply lines open. Costs continued to stay at very high levels compared to a few years ago and it was a challenge trying to pass along the full impact of those costs to our customers. We believe that most raw material costs have stabilized and we anticipate that pricing will stay at these elevated levels for awhile. With the exception of some pigments, we do not currently forecast any significant problems with raw material availability.”

“There appears to be more stability for the supply of raw materials,” Mr. Copeland said. “Prices for some items, including photoinitiators, titanium dioxide and certain other pigments, are not stable.”

Mr. Clendenning said that INX is still dealing with rising costs in its raw materials.

“Some of these materials have begun to stabilize a bit, but overall, our raw material costs are elevated to very high levels,” Mr. Clendenning added. “That is a concern for us at INX. The availability of materials hasn’t been an issue in 2012, but we are closely monitoring this situation as we move into 2013.”

“To date we have yet to experience a supply shortage of raw materials,” Mr. Sickinger said. “2012 has forced long lead-times and better demand forecasting on the part of buyers. I expect this trend will continue as many suppliers are doing more with distributors or pushing lead times from two or three days out as far as five to seven days.

“The Ti02 market seems to have softened due to high inventories and flattened demand,” Mr. Sickinger added. “We have seen Ti02 price decreases during Q2 2012, and the current indication is we will see yet another decrease in Q1 2013. This decrease has also been reflected in the dispersant and surfactant markets. The reason being cited for most of these decreases is high inventories, Europe’s debt crisis and the U.S. presidential election. Though pricing has remained flat during Q3, and in some cases been reduced, much of the future hinges on the impending ‘fiscal cliff’ in the Untied States and failure to control the financial crisis in Europe.”

“Although we have not experienced this year the widespread shortages and allocations that plagued the industry two years ago, the raw material supply chain is a continuing concern to Sun Chemical,” said Ed Pruitt, chief procurement officer, Sun Chemical. “A sharp uptick in demand from the emerging markets or developed economies could quickly put products like titanium dioxide, nitrocellulose, carbon black and some pigments in very tight inventory positions. We also need to be mindful of the potential impact of global weather conditions on such raw materials as gum rosin, ethanol and vegetable oils.

“In general, at Sun Chemical we see a continuation of the current moderation trend in the raw materials market to the end of the year and into next year,” Mr. Pruitt added. “This outlook is based on the assumption that the tepid economic performance that is being seen in North America, Europe and in Asia will continue for the last quarter of this year.The great wild card here is the price of oil, which has regained strength. If prices do not retrench, it will start to drive the cost of oil and petrochemical derivatives upward.”

Mr. Forker said that the topic of raw materials will remain important in the coming years.

“Though global demand is rising, reduction of production capacities jacks up the prices and makes them hard to predict,” Mr. Forker said. “We were able to absorb some price increases and spare our customers, but of course this approach has its limits. To remain successful, we will invest a lot of effort into finding alternative raw materials and establishing multi-supplier solutions. I am confident that our extensive know-how and our global research projects are well prepared for this task. Still, price increases have been unavoidable and I expect the same for the future.”

Highlights from 2012

Ink manufacturers noted that there were numerous highlights in 2012.

“To globally improve our performance, we introduced excellence initiatives in all major functions,” Mr. Forker said. “We strive for improvement in all parts of the value chain to remain a valuable partner for our customers. In these worldwide activities, I am excited to observe how our regions and business units grow together and Siegwerk really acts as a global player.

“Furthermore, sustainability is becoming increasingly important to our customers and Siegwerk acts on this,” Mr. Forker added. “Already in 2008, the board committed to a sustainability resolution and the efforts pay off. We introduced a new ink series for food applications, Tempo NUTRIPACK 2, which fulfills the highest standards of low migration. We are also the first ink producer to make available all product safety data sheets online, so that customers can easily access them. And in everyday work, we continuously reduce the carbon footprint of our products by recycling solvents and reducing energy and water consumption.”

“We’re very excited about continuing our ISO activities, and two of our liquid manufacturing facilities were added to our 14001 ISO Certificate,” Mr. Clendenning said. “Both the Appleton, WI and Homewood, IL locations join our three manufacturing operations in Charlotte, NC, Dunkirk, NY and West Chicago, IL on the 14001 ISO Certificate. All five of these locations are on our 9001 ISO Certificate as well. Another liquid manufacturing site, the one on Mason Ave. in Chicago, was 9001 ISO certified this year. I’m very proud of the people at these plants for accomplishing their ISO goals.”

“We were extremely pleased with the continued growth of our inkjet business in 2012 and the ongoing development of our international markets,” Mr. Peters said. “We opened two new branches this year, one in Leeds, England and the other in Sacramento, CA. We completed the implementation of our new ERP system to Wikoff’s 29 branch manufacturing plants and through the hard work and dedication of Wikoff employees we were able to do it with minimal impact on our customer base.”

“One highlight is the performance of our UV products and our lamination inks,” Mr. Copeland noted. “We are having great success in these two product lines. The highlight of our new facility in Wood Dale, IL continues, and the future plans to improve our operational and sales coverage throughout the U.S. is very exciting.”

Deanna Whelan, marketing manager, Packaging and Narrow Web for Flint Group, noted that Flint Group Narrow Web introduced a series of ink technologies for UV LED curing under the EkoCure brand. EkoCure is the first-ever, commercially available UV LED technology for narrow web combination printing. EkoCure F, for UV flexo applications, and EkoCure SN opaque white is readily available. Additionally, the portfolio contains various overprint varnishes, adhesives and opaque whites for shrink applications.

In support of flexo film and foil applications, Flint Group Packaging in Europe introduced “Next Generation” NC-based product range which includes FlexiPrint MV and FlexiStar MV; and VarioLam AB flexo PU technology. On the water-based side, we launched PremoFilm SXS.

The fruits of a re-energized technology strategy started in 2011 were realized in 2012. Flint Group Packaging in North America launched several new cutting-edge flexo and gravure ink technologies including PamioStar Outdoor, FlexiStar Confectionary, FlexiTech Shrink U, PluriTech™ Shrink U, PamioStar™ SP and OmniLam PT.

However, Flint Group reported that the most promising technology developed in 2012 is its patent-pending FlexiBase HDP base systems, designed for those printers who hunger to deliver impressive, high definition, eye catching graphics to their customers. Those who have done so are already winning awards and new business in 2012.

In July, Sun Chemical was awarded an InterTech Technology Award, one of the highest honors in the printing industry, for its SunPak LMQ (low migration quality) products. Awarded annually by the Printing Industries of America, the InterTech Award recognizes the development of unique and innovative technologies that are predicted to have a significant impact on the graphic arts and related industries.

Sun Chemical’s SunPak LMQ products help address the risk brand owners face in packaging, where compounds from materials in the packaging structure can migrate into the food product or the surrounding environment. SunPak LMQ inks exhibit very low odor, off-flavor and migration levels, and offer a comprehensive solution to brand owners and converters who are looking for ways to address migration concerns for food, pharmaceutical and tobacco applications.

In September, Sun Chemical’s UK and Ireland Customer Service Center, based in Trafford Park, was awarded the 2012 Customer Service Excellence Award by the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF).

Other honors went to Edward R. Pruitt, Sun Chemical’s chief procurement officer, as the “2012 Man of the Year” by the Metro New York Printing Ink Association. Moe Rahmeh, a technical manager for Sun Chemical in the Dallas/Fort Worth region, received the 2012 National Association of Print Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) Pioneer Award, which honors longevity and service in the print industry, committee work, technical contributions, and service to associations.

On March 1, 2012, Sun Chemical retired its SmartColour brand from the marketplace and transferred all current customer licenses to the new PantoneLIVE eco-system from X-Rite/Pantone. PantoneLIVE licensees can take advantage of Sun Chemical’s intellectual property in the field of digital color communication.

In July, Sun Chemical launched the SunUno Solimax multi-purpose ink system. Suitable for both surface and reverse print applications on a number of the commonly used flexible packaging substrates, Solimax will maximize print run efficiency while simplifying the overall print production. The SunUno Solimax ink system is the latest generation of inks providing a single platform that can cover multiple ink processes. It is suitable for both flexographic and rotogravure print processes.

In September, Sun Chemical launched SunLit Crystal, an ‘all-in-one’ ink solution designed for print work where visual impression is key. With the increasing use of electronic media, consumers are expecting the same level of vividness and placing higher value on printed material. SunLit Crystal enables printers to produce highly appealing prints whilst maintaining effectiveness in the printing process. This ‘all-in-one’ ink solution is a universal sheetfed offset process ink set.

SunJet, the inkjet ink division of Sun Chemical, launched its JetStream PCO Oil-based HD Black ink for Seiko Instruments Inc. printheads at the Sino-Pack Expo 2012 in Guangzhou, China. The JetStream PCO HD Black has been developed with high performance pigment and drop spread control technology to meet the needs for high contrast and high definition printing demanded in applications such as bar coding, stock identification and decoration.

During Labelexpo Americas 2012, SunJet also launched EtiJet LM UV, its new low migration UV curing ink range for the digital label market. All of the ink components appear on the European positive lists, Swiss Ordinance and EuPIA and the inks do not use materials specifically excluded in the Nestle list, meaning the inks meet the highest industry standards for food packaging.

In July, Sun Chemical launched the Streamline ESL HPQ and the Streamline Ultima HPQ for the stringent demands of the latest wide format printing equipment. Designed specifically for use in wide and super-wide format printers which are using high-quality solvent-based inks, the Streamline range provides high print reliability and print quality, along with reduced downtime to clean ink heads.

During Labelexpo, Sun Chemical featured its Solaris System, a complete line of inks and coatings designed to meet all the printing needs of all narrow web and packaging printers. The full range includes products for virtually all narrow web applications from self-adhesive and in-mold labels to wrap arounds, shrink sleeves, tubes, and food and pharmaceutical packaging.

At SuperCorr, Sun Chemical showcased its SunVisto Advantage line of water-based inks. Specifically developed to be pH stable for corrugated printers who want a consistent press run without monitoring or adjusting pH levels, the inks offer consistent color strength, longer press runs without maintenance, and reduced plate washing during a press run. Also at SuperCorr was SunVisto Hydroking PHS water-based inks. Formulated to match GCMI X color standards, the low-VOC inks meet the requirements of the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG) and provide consistent viscosity with excellent press stability, and are PH stable with excellent coverage and mileage.

Each of the trade shows showcased Sun Chemical’s SunGraphics plates division. For both narrow web and corrugated printers, Sun Chemical introduced SunGraphics high definition flexographic plate technology, with Esko HD software and CDI high resolution imaging.

At Infoflex, Sun Chemical highlighted SunSpectro Sunsharp solvent-based inks. Developed for high-speed, wide web flexo presses of bread bags and frozen food packaging, SunSpectro Sunsharp inks are high gloss, resistant to water, fats and oils, and formulated for low odor and low viscosity for enhanced color strength. Developed for flexographic printing on polyethylene film, SunSpectro Sunsharp HR solvent-based inks provide moderate heat resistance of up to 350 degrees, maintain excellent gloss. Its clean printing and water resistance make it an ideal choice for printing on items such as plastic bags, shampoo bottles and milk containers.

Plates were also on display at each of these shows. SunGraphics SunLite In-Position Plates were introduced to allow corrugated printers to integrate sustainable practices in the workflow.

Most of these shows also featured the Sun Chemical Dispenser Program, which allows printers to mix the exact amount of inks they need, reduces their inventory and waste, and improves color-matching consistency. The Sun Chemical Dispenser Program for the narrow web tag and label market, for example, can lower a customer’s ink spend by 45%.

Sun Chemical highlighted its anti-counterfeiting solutions to help brand owners ensure the integrity of their packaging. Sun Chemical offers a variety of security ink solutions including an infrared coding solution called Verigard, a security system that adds a small quantity of taggants, or chemical markers, to inks, varnishes or coatings for use in any print process on any substrate.

Sun Chemical has produced a drinking glass to demonstrate the various printing possibilities of direct glass printing with organic UV curing inks. The glass showcases the high quality print effects that can be achieved with UV organic inks, opening up the opportunity for brands to be even more creative in package design. In October, Sun Chemical demonstrated its Vitrocure UV curing ink from the SunVetro range at Glasstec 2012 in Dusseldorf.

During the SNEC 2012 PV Power Expo and the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, the Sun Chemical Electronic Materials division showed how photovoltaic manufacturers can save money by taking advantage of Sun Chemical’s unique one-stop shop offering, including a broad range of metallization solutions for both additive and subtractive processes as well as module materials for use in the crystalline silicon (c-Si), thin film, printed electronics, and other emerging markets.

In February 2012, Sun Chemical released its 2011 sustainability report, which expands on its established data-driven metrics by showcasing how the company’s leadership in sustainability is helping customers adapt and be more eco-efficient.

In February, Sun Chemical and the Druckfarben Hellas Group announced the merger of their publications divisions in the South Eastern Europe region. Both companies identified the opportunity to strengthen their position in a growing region and the new Joint Venture allows this through establishing a successful long-term partnership.

Five new legal entities named Sun Chemical Publication Bulgaria, Sun Chemical Publication Croatia, Sun Chemical Publication Greece, Sun Chemical Publication Romania and Sun Chemical Publication Serbia now operate under the Joint Venture and will service Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia / Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, FYROM and Moldova.

In July, Sun Chemical Performance Pigments acquired of Benda-Lutz Werke GmbH, a leading manufacturer of metallic effect products based in Austria. The acquisition allows Sun Chemical to purchase 100 percent of the shares, assets and business from Benda-Lutz and would expand its product portfolio in metallic effects. With the acquisition, Sun Chemical adds production facilities in Austria, Poland, Russia and the United States to accompany its aluminum pigment manufacturing site in China, forming the basis of a new global Metallics Business Unit as part of Sun Chemical’s Performance Pigments Division.

In June, Sun Chemical reinforced its commitment to customers in Montreal and the Province of Quebec with the opening of its new state-of-the-art ink manufacturing plant in Laval, a $3.1 million (CAD) investment designed to provide stronger customer service, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.

The 50,000 square foot facility consolidates four manufacturing plants located in Ottawa, Quebec City and two buildings located in the Montreal suburbs of Boucherville and Anjou, into one brand new manufacturing plant that will service the needs of customers primarily located in Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City areas.

Expectations for 2013 And Beyond

With all that has occurred in recent years – the recession, the decline of certain key printing segments and the volatile raw material supply chain – ink manufacturers remain optimistic that the future still remains bright.

“We have our share of challenges as all ink companies do,” Mr. Copeland said. “Our expectation for the future of Toyo Ink America is bright as we work on positive strategies to adapt to the changes in technology and add new product offerings.”

“There is little doubt the ink industry has been challenged the last few years by the recession, slow economic growth and rapidly increasing raw material costs,” Mr. Aldred said. “And in the short term, the challenges will continue. But Flint Group has addressed these issues head-on, and is well positioned for the future.

“We recognized the need for changes early, and structural changes were made to address the industry’s direction before being forced into changes by the circumstances we experienced in the last few years,” Mr. Aldred added. “It is important to recognize the shifts in the industry and act to adjust to those shifts rather than having to react after the fact. We have an organization capable of managing through these difficult issues, and personnel with the talent and dedication to provide focused service and innovation for our customers. This will provide a sound base for Flint Group for the future.”

“We will continue to work to build our business with innovative products and ‘close to the customer’ technical service,” Mr. Sickinger said.

Mr. Peters said that Wikoff Color expects to continue to have good sales growth in 2013.

“In addition to projecting decent sales levels in our traditional markets, we are projecting continued expansion of our inkjet business and our business outside of the U.S. and Canada,” Mr. Peters added. “We expect that the ink industry will continue to work its way through this soft economy, and we would not be surprised to see further consolidation in the industry in the coming years.”

“We are taking a cautious approach into 2013, knowing the raw materials cost level for our industry remains very high and could continue that trend for awhile,” Mr. Clendenning said. “As far as the industry is concerned, we have markets – mainly on the commercial side of our business – where our customers are struggling. That hurts everyone in the long run. With the downward trend in this segment and the overcapacity we have in the printing ink world, it is more difficult since everyone is competing and battling for a smaller piece of the pie.”

“Whether it is costs, sustainability requirements or compliance issues, our customers are facing more challenges than ever and we don’t expect that to stop in 2013,” Felipe Mellado, chief marketing officer, Sun Chemical, said. “These challenges our customers have faced have required a change in the way they do business. We recognize these challenges at Sun Chemical and we’re transforming with the industry by doing our part to help customers thrive in this dynamic business environment by providing a comprehensive and consistent offering of world-class products and services, delivering consistently on our promises with strong technical and customer service, and offering breakthroughs in ink technology that will ultimately save our customers money.

“Sun Chemical wants to continue being known as the company that is truly a partner with its customers,” Mr. Mellado added. “To be able to achieve this, our customers have to know that we are here to help them with their problems.We’re optimistic that Sun Chemical’s investments in quality, service and innovation will help our customers succeed. In the current challenging market conditions, our solutions are designed to help customers operate more efficiently without sacrificing quality or service to their customers.”

“In the years to come, we will follow a two-fold strategy,” Mr. Forker said. “On the one hand, we put our focus on profitable growth in the emerging markets. This is crucial because our customers in countries like India, China or Brazil are growing and they expect us to follow their example. In these markets, we are heavily investing in infrastructure and capacity and thus giving evidence to our customers that we will remain reliable suppliers.

“On the other hand, we will all face stagnating or even decreasing volumes in the European markets and the U.S.,” Mr. Forker said. “For some areas like publication, the downward trend will continue. And the raw material situation remains uncertain. So it will be decisive for us to put all our efforts into restructuring and efficiency-increasing projects. It is our aim to supply our customers with competitive prices while keeping the renowned Siegwerk product quality. We invest a lot of resources, money and manpower into our excellence initiatives to maintain our position as a quality ink supplier. We want to remain a reliable partner, offering ink products and value-added services with the highest standards in product safety, quality and service.”

For more information on The Year in Review, including highlights from 2012, please see the online version at www.inkworldmagazine.com.