Parsippany, NJ 07054
Phone: (973) 404-6000
Fax: (973) 404-6001
Sales: Together with DIC, Sun Chemical has annual sales of more than $7.5 billion in printing inks, coatings and supplies, pigments, polymers, liquid compounds, solid compounds, and application materials worldwide. Sun Chemical has annual sales of $3.5 billion in printing inks and colorants worldwide. North American Ink Sales: $1.5 billion (Ink World estimate).
Major Products: Broad product portfolio with capabilities in web heatset and sheetfed offset; publication and packaging gravure; news ink and publication coldset; flexographic packaging inks; corrugated packaging inks; energy curable inks and coatings; screen inks; label and narrow web inks; toner; inkjet materials; adhesives for packaging; overprint varnishes; specialty coatings; effect inks; flexographic printing plates; digital artwork file management; color software and brand color management; security inks and coatings; organic colorants for inks, plastics, paints, coatings and cosmetics; liquid compounds for printed circuits, printed electronics, solar modules, and digital inkjet printing; solid compounds for automotive components and glossy interiors as well as industrial, construction and other electrical components; adhesives for commercial and industrial electronics; magnetic tapes for plastic cards; and degasification modules for inkjet printing.
Key Personnel: Rudi Lenz, president and CEO, Sun Chemical and Board member; Charles Murray, president, North American Inks; Fernando Tavara, president, Sun Chemical Latin America; Myron Petruch, president, Performance Pigments; Mehran Yazdani, president, Advanced Materials; Greg Hayes, group managing director, Europe Northern Region; Robert Fitzka, group managing director, Europe Central Region; Carlo Musso, group managing director, Europe Southern Region; John McKeown, senior VP, chief administration officer; Russell Schwartz, chief technology officer; Edward Pruitt, chief procurement officer; Martin Cellerier, VP, corporate strategy; Gerry Brady, CFO; Jeffrey Shaw, chief supply chain, quality and business improvement officer; Brian Panczyk, VP operations and engineering; Felipe Mellado, chief marketing officer and Board member; James Van Horn, general counsel and secretary; Bradley Schrader, VP, corporate planning.
Number of Employees: DIC has more than 20,000 worldwide.
Operating Facilities: Sun Chemical has 176 subsidiaries across 63 countries.
Comments: Sun Chemical, a subsidiary of DIC Corporation, is the global leader in printing inks and coatings. The company is constantly creating opportunities in new markets, with an eye on providing its customers with a comprehensive range of products and services, from inks and coatings to organic pigments, flexo plates, packaging design, software and more.
“We did very well in 2015,” said Charles Murray, president, North American Inks for Sun Chemical. “We are striving to grow our packaging business and coatings, and we have developed the widest range of products in our portfolio. We are seeing continuing declines in the publication, commercial and news ink markets. Still, we remain committed to the heatset, news and commercial sheetfed markets.”
In an important acquisition, Sun Chemical entered into a definitive agreement to acquire certain assets and liabilities of Colmar Inks Corporation, an Ontario, Canada-based specialist in inks for paper packaging and corrugated printing. The deal, which is expected to close during the first quarter in 2016, allows Sun Chemical to expand its liquid ink operations in Canada.
“We are always looking for good bolt-on acquisitions where we can acquire good technologies and strong portfolios of products,” Murray added.
In June, Sun Chemical purchased the remaining shares of its South Eastern Europe region JV companies held by the Druckfarben Hellas Group. The initial JV was formed in 2012, and now has annual sales of more than $30 million.
On the pigment side, Sun Chemical announced in June that it will invest $10 million to expand production of its Benda-Lutz metallic effect pigments by more than 40 percent.
In another significant move, Sun Chemical launched its Novel Device Lab, which Murray noted is helping printers become more productive.
“There is a huge amount of interest in the work being done by the Novel Device Lab. Inks and coatings are becoming more advanced all the time, and more technologically advanced equipment is also required now to provide measurements on characteristics such as coating weight and opacity,” Murray noted. “Through our Novel Device Lab, we are developing new equipment to achieve this for our customers.
“For example, packaging requires that the coefficient of friction be specifically controlled,” he added. “The coatings are clear, and presses are running at 2,000 feet per minute. It is hard for the press operator to tell if the coating is at the right thickness. We have developed an invisible taggant for our coatings that can be read by readers at real time press speeds across the entire width of the web.”
Areas such as inkjet, printed electronics, automotive, architectural and industrial coatings are increasingly strong opportunities, and Sun Chemical and DIC are well positioned in these growth areas. Sun Chemical formed its new Advanced Materials Division, allowing DIC and Sun Chemical to expand its product portfolio.
“The Advanced Materials Division allows us to move into new markets that we were never in before,” Murray added. “For example, we were not in plastic cards 18 months ago, and now we are doing well there. We have developed UV offset inks, coatings and specialty features for this business, and plastic cards are a particularly attractive area for conductive inks. It is a good fit, as DIC is the largest supplier of magnetic tapes for plastic cards.”
Inkjet and printed electronics are two of the areas that the Advanced Materials Division is developing.
“Someone said recently that if it is printed today, it will go digital at some point,” Murray noted. “To meet the needs of new markets, Sun Chemical has added SunTex digital textile inks and digital ceramic printing ink to our portfolio. Printed electronics is in its infancy, and every day, new opportunities emerge.”
Murray said that the changing regulatory environment requires companies that can work with the entire supply chain.
“Sun Chemical has a very strong regulatory capability,” he said. “We work with printers and brand owners on regulatory issues. We are global, and we want to be ready for every new regulation going forward, ensuring that we are manufacturing products ahead of the regulatory beat. This is a challenge and an opportunity, as our competitors can’t provide this level of knowledge and experience. It builds trust among the CPGs that someone can offer this level of expertise.”
Like all ink manufacturers, Sun Chemical is paying close attention to raw materials costs.
“Crude oil prices have a lot less impact on our business,” said Murray. “Our raw material prices are still significantly above 2011 levels. Many of our materials are organic and are not impacted by the price of oil, and feedstocks are more impacted by availability than by the cost of crude oil. For raw materials, 2015 was more stable, and I suspect that 2016 will see more stability.”
Currency fluctuations are another area of concern for ink companies. Murray used the Canadian dollar as an example of the challenges that ink companies are facing.
“We do what we can. In terms of currency, the Canadian dollar has been particularly painful, as it is less than 75 cents compared to the US dollar,” he said. “It is a tough situation. The Brazilian real and the Russian ruble are also volatile.”
Murray said he is an optimist by nature, adding that the ink and coatings market offers many possibilities.
“I always remain optimistic,” Murray added. “The reality is that there is no shortage of opportunities in this industry. The packaging industry continues to evolve, and we are constantly developing new markets, whether it is in plastic cards, vinyl flooring, printed electronics inkjet, coatings or many others. I see no end to these opportunities.”