2 Flint Group
North American Headquarters
14909 North Beck Road
Plymouth, MI 48170-7194
Phone: (734) 781-4600
Fax: (734) 781-4699
2012 Global Sales: US$2.9 billion/€2.25 billion. North American Ink Sales: $1.0 billion (Ink World estimate).
Major Products: A wide range of inks, coatings, blankets, pressroom chemistry, printing plates, consumables and more. Expertise in solvent-based, water-based, oil-based and energy curable applications, including offset lithography, flexography, gravure, rotary screen, rotary offset and letterpress. Products are designed to support nearly all print segments in the print media and packaging sectors. Also manufactures dry, flushed and press cake pigments, chips and resins for ink and other applications, aqueous dispersions, hyperdispersants and additives for the colorant market.
Number of Employees: More than 6,800 worldwide.
Comments: Flint Group had a good year in 2013, with the company achieving strong results despite facing lower demand.
“As far as ink demand, 2013 felt familiar – lower market demand due to the factors we’ve discussed many times before,” said Bill Miller, president Print Media for Flint Group. “Still, Flint Group fared well. Our strategies take these market conditions into account. By staying true to them, we were able to end the year with strong results.
“By offering unique value to customers, we were able to maintain important business and gain new customers, all of which supported our sales targets in 2013,” Miller added. “Printers, like all other companies in the graphic arts industry, varied widely in gains or losses. Consolidation continued, providing great opportunities for some printers and their suppliers, and innovations enabled some printers to gain leads over their competitors, but the market overall remained tight.”
Doug Aldred, president, Flint Group Packaging & Narrow Web, noted that the packaging and narrow web ink segments also fared well.
“The packaging and label market is strong and growing, and we’re excited to be a leading supplier and partner with printers and converters in this innovative arena,” said Aldred.”The packaging and narrow web ink segments did experience growth in 2013. We have a great team in place; every person is dedicated to bringing Flint Group’s expertise to all markets globally.
“We see the packaging markets as growth opportunities – brand owners continue to become more sophisticated in the way they package products to attract consumers,” Aldred added. “We also realize the market need for sustainable packaging solutions – products that offer sustainable solutions for our environment, but also economic sustainability – and printing inks and applications can play a key role in this.”
Flint Group puts great emphasis on safety, and Frank Mastria, vice president operations/global SHE, said the efforts are paying off with incident levels better than the industry average.
“Our safety levels have been improving for some time, but that doesn’t mean we can relax,” said Mastria. “We have to make sure our Operational Excellence Processes and employee focus remain in place to fight complacency and mitigate risks. Our teams did an outstanding job. Our average global recordable incident rate was lower than ever before and better than industry averages. Flint Group employees have truly incorporated safety culture into their daily lives and into our company culture as a core value – which is important, since this remains an ongoing effort day in, day out.”
“Flint Group reached unprecedented safety results in 2013, the result of changes in our systems and culture,” Miller noted. “I am very pleased to see each employee take this seriously day after day.”
Flint Group had an active year on a number of fronts, with the December 2013 acquisition of the remaining shares of Tintas Graficas Vencedor (TGV) from Corporacion Peruana de Productos Quimicos S.A. (CPPQ) among the major highlights. Located in Lima, Peru, TGV was a joint venture between Flint Group (49.95% Flint Group GmbH) and CPPQ. TGV is a specialist in liquid packaging inks (solvent- and water-based) and the resale of narrow web, flexographic plates and sheetfed inks.
Aldred noted that on the packaging and label side alone, Flint Group brought more than 30 new products to the market to support both wide web and narrow web package and label printers in 2013.
“A game-changing solution, UV LED technology, was launched globally for both narrow web printers and sheetfed offset printers, as well as several new and proven, high quality low-migration technologies,” Aldred added.
Flint Group enjoyed growth in many product segments last year, with packaging, narrow web and energy curing being particularly strong.
“Flexible packaging and labels will continue to lead industry growth,” said Grant Shouldice, vice president technology and marketing for Flint Group’s North American packaging group. “We also expect folding carton to continue a slow and steady increase, especially as printers continue to capitalize on – and expand – their energy curing capability. Flint Group’s Packaging & Narrow Web group launched a number of new and innovative products that will provide valuable momentum for our growth in 2014.”
“Flint Group has a uniquely well-rounded portfolio,” Miller added. “Our ongoing investment in print media inks, blankets and pressroom chemistry helped us gain new customers in 2013. In fact, we’ve seen an increase in all customers – old and new – who buy from multiple Flint Group product lines.”
The cost of many key raw materials for ink stabilized at high levels during the past year, but Diane Parisi, Flint Group’s vice president procurement, said the company is preparing for more challenges in 2014.
“Many raw material prices did stabilize – albeit at uncomfortably high levels compared to years before,” said Parisi. “We don’t expect this quiet time to last for long. The trends that have caused raw material costs to increase continue to be a factor in our industry. In fact, we expect 2014 to be tougher than 2013 in terms of raw materials.”
All in all, Miller anticipates 2014 to be a year full of challenges and opportunities.
“I’ve been in this industry since 1976, and I haven’t experienced a dull year yet,” Miller concluded. “I expect more of the same. Challenges, opportunities and excitement are sure to keep us engaged in 2014.”