Top Companies Report

7 Wikoff Color Corporation


7 Wikoff Color Corporation
1886 Merritt Road
Fort Mill, SC 29715
Phone: (803) 548-2210

Sales: $170 million (Ink World estimate).
Major Products: Sheetfed and web offset inks, solvent-based and water-based flexo and gravure inks, energy-curable inks and coatings, security inks, UV inkjet inks, overprint varnish and aqueous coatings.

Geoff Peters
Key Personnel: Geoff Peters, president and CEO; Daryl Collins, VP of national sales and regional operations; Freida Liles, VP of finance and treasurer; Buck Rorie, VP of administration; Martin Hambrock, VP of Canadian operations; Don Duncan, director of R&D; Ben Price, director of purchasing; Art Dennis, director of manufacturing.
Number of Employees: 490.
Operating Facilities: 29 manufacturing plants in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Headquarters and primary research and development facilities are located in Fort Mill, SC.

Comments: Wikoff Color had another strong year in 2013 across the company’s diverse product lines.

“Wikoff finished 2013 with moderate growth as projected,” said Geoff Peters, Wikoff Color’s president and CEO. “We continued to see higher growth in the packaging and label markets, and more moderate sales growth in other markets. A large percentage of Wikoff’s customer base saw improvement in their business and, in turn, Wikoff saw growth in our ink and coating sales.

“Wikoff saw the most growth in the flexible packaging, label and inkjet markets, because of the overall growth in those industries and the strength of our offerings to those markets,” Peters added. “We also saw continued growth in our energy curable business, including our UV and EB inks and coatings.”

 Wikoff Color has never been one to stand still. In recent years, the company has expanded into new markets such as flexible packaging, narrow web and label. In June, Wikoff Color Corporation converted a space in its Fort Mill, SC manufacturing plant into a state-of-the-art energy-cure inkjet ink manufacturing facility and cleanroom. The company has also increased its global presence. These moves are all paying dividends for Wikoff Color.

 “We were extremely pleased with the continued growth of our inkjet business in 2013 and the ongoing expansion of our international markets,” Peters said. “Sales to flexible packaging and label customers once again experienced double digit growth rates. Our two newest branches, one in Leeds, England and the other in Sacramento, CA, both had outstanding results in their first full year of operations. And of course, we couldn’t be more pleased with the customer reception of our new inkjet cleanroom and manufacturing facility. Wikoff was also very proud to celebrate the first two 50-year employees in the company’s history – which we attribute in large part to our employee-ownership culture.”

On the raw material side, Ben Price, director of purchasing, said that as a general rule, raw material prices have been relatively stable for the past couple of years. However, considering the wide range of basic chemicals that impact printing inks, there are always exceptions.

“Rosin resin used in oil-based inks continues to be a concern,” Price noted. “Chinese gum rosin has increased over 50% since the summer of 2013, and this trend has led to higher rosin resin and oil-based varnish prices. Styrene prices have also been on the rise recently, putting upward pressure on resins used in water-based inks. While most pigment prices have held steady, we are hearing reports out of China about possible increases for some reds and yellows. Plant shutdowns resulting from environmental protection measures are the reported driver of these increases.”

With the company growing in all of its markets and new operations underway, Peters anticipates another excellent year in 2014.

“Wikoff Color expects very good sales growth in 2014 and has started off the year very well,” Peters said. “In addition to strong sales in our traditional markets, we are forecasting continued growth in our inkjet and international businesses. Additionally, we could see new sales coming from the expansion of our geographic footprint and possibly through acquisition. We expect that the ink industry will continue to work its way through the uncertain global economy, but we would not be surprised to see further consolidation in the industry in the coming years.”