1-23-37 Edobori, Nishi-Ku
Osaka 550-0002 Japan
Sales: $1.342 billion (¥131,589 million in printing ink and graphic arts); $1.302 billion (¥138,586 million) consolidated.
Major Products: Commercial offset, sheetfed, heatset, and newspaper offset inks; gravure inks for flexible packaging; flexo inks for flexible packaging, corrugated carton and paper bag; metal decorating inks; UV/EB inks and varnishes; inks for inkjet printers; and toners.
Key Personnel: Kotaro Morita, president; Masanori Kano, senior managing director; Yoshiaki Uesaka, senior managing director; Naohisa Yasui, managing director; Yasuhiro Hashimoto, managing director. Technical directors: Masanori Kano, senior managing director; Yoshiaki Ueno, director.
Number of Employees: 3,719 (consolidated basis); 822 (non-consolidated basis).
Comments: Sakata INX had an excellent year in 2014, with ink and graphic arts sales increasing 5.3% to $1.302 billion (138,586 million yen). On a consolidated basis, sales for 2014 increased 4.8% to $1.376 billion (146,569 million yen). In particular, the company overcame declining sales in Japan with stronger sales in the rest of Asia as well as in North America.
“Due to sluggish personal consumption, sales in Japan decreased,” said Yuichi Kataura, GM of the International Operations Division of Sakata INX Corp. “There were sales increases of packaging and offset inks in Asia and North America and of packaging ink in Europe. However, in Japan, there was a consumer backlash to the incentive to spend before a sales tax increase. This resulted in a slowing of personal spending that led to a decrease in sales quantity of printing ink.”
Sakata INX reported some important highlights during the past year, beginning with its Shiga plant in Maibara City, which will begin manufacturing inkjet and specialty inks.
“The Shiga plant will operate as an important base to expand our digital and specialty products and to reconstruct the production structure for printing ink,” said Kataura.
“Phase 1 construction included production and logistics facilities, and with completion of phase 1 construction at Shiga, the facility operation rate increased,” he added. “As a result, digital and specialty product sales have steadily increased. Phase 2 construction is underway and we are building an offset ink production facility. The expected completion date is December 2015.”
Kataura added that in terms of further capital investment, there is a plan to expand the metal decorating and UV ink plants in the U.S. Kataura said that digitalization is changing the nature of the printing industry.
“Offset ink, including newspaper ink using paper media, is expected to decline mainly in developing countries due to digitalization,” Kataura observed. “However, we will expand sales by introducing differentiating products. We will deploy environmentally friendly products that respond to the local needs centered around newly developing countries where we expect there will be economic growth for packaging ink.”
Higher raw material prices did impact the company’s operating income.
“There was an impact on operating income in Japan that led to a decline in profit,” said Kataura. “We have been asking customers to accept an increase in price due to the rise in raw material prices. Price negotiations on gravure ink are proceeding, but we cannot raise the price of offset ink enough due to adverse market conditions.”
Kataura said that another highlight for Sakata INX is its new mid-term business plan.
“Sakata INX has prepared a new mid-term business plan for a three-year period ending in fiscal year 2017,” Kataura said. “Sakata INX Group will respond quickly and flexibly to the changing business environment in order to enhance our stakeholders’ confidence. We will build sustainable growth as a company and strengthen the management platform through enhancing CSR activities. As a business strategy, we plan to grow steadily by deploying our global business by securing a position in each global market.”