Tel: +82 31-467-6437
Fax: +82 31-443-8570
Sales: $87 million.
Major Products: Offset sheetfed, web heatset, UV ink; metal deco ink. Sister company DI&C produces gravure and flexo ink.
Key Executives: J.S. Han, chairman; H.S. Ahn, CEO.
Comments: As Daihan Ink Co., Ltd. celebrates its 70th anniversary, making it the oldest ink manufacturer in Korea, the company continues to fare well in its core markets of sheetfed, heatset, UV ink and metal deco, while its sister company DI&C produces liquid inks.
The Asia-Pacific has seen the decline in the publication and commercial ink market, and Daihan Ink Co., Ltd. is no exception. Daihan Ink Co., Ltd. has felt this impact.
“We guess, not only for us, but all of the companies involved in the printing industry are having a hard time every year,” said Charlie Lee of Daihan Ink Co., Ltd. “Frankly speaking, we have had almost the same turnover for the last couple of years, but slightly increased year by year.
“Before, when the heatset market was good, our market share of heatset in Korea was more than 50%,” Lee added. “But nowadays, many big stores and shopping companies stopped publishing catalogs and leaflets printed by heatset, so the heatset market has dropped a lot.”
Lee said that the printing industry is heading into a period of decline.
“It’s not only for ink, but also other consumables for printing,” Lee noted. “Many Korean printing companies have gone bankrupt due to fewer orders, more competition and digital (both printing and prints). Now, the only winner is the one who can make niche market or who has a specialty in terms of price or quality or product.
“According to our marketing team’s report, in 2013, all of Korea’s major ink companies except ours had minus performance for the sales of their own products compared to 2012, while we had a 0.3% increase. And compared to 2013, 2014 wasn’t good either. We don’t see any brightness in 2015 either.”
To prepare for the changing nature of the printing and ink industries, Daihan Ink is emphasizing globalization through cooperation with its partners in Asia, investing $25 million in its new factory.
“Even though we have more capability for production due to fewer orders from our domestic market, we realized the later we made the decision to go global, the worse the results would be,” Lee said. “So we found several partners, and are now considering how to proceed. It will be single investment, a JV or OEM (plus technical cooperation), depending on the markets and partners. As for our current factory in Korea, we will focus on high quality ink and other printing-related business such as coatings.”
Daihan Ink has two factories. Its Anyang factory, built in 1976, is located 15 km from Seoul. The second factory is in Pyeongtaek, 60 km from Seoul, and was built in 2006. This factory is more automated; Daihan Ink developed its first solvent-free ink, and received the Korea Green Management Award from the Korean president.
Lee noted there are challenges ahead for Daihan Ink. Japan’s currency rate has proved to be a concern, leading to decreases in exports to the country. The weak euro is also leading to buyers returning to European ink suppliers, although the weakened euro also impacts raw material purchases. On the plus side, the company does expect to see increased business in Iran in the second half of 2015 after its 5+1 agreement with Iran.
Daihan Ink’s R&D continues to excel, introducing new products, including a low-VOC waterless ink (VOCs less than 1% for both heatset and sheetfed), packaging inks, H-UV, LED-UV, some electronic ink, digital ink and new coatings, including soft feel, UV silkscreen, and heat insulating coatings.