Chuo-Ku, Tokyo 104-8377 Japan
Sales: $1.3 billion (¥144,616 million in printing and information, and packaging materials); consolidated results: $2.41 billion (¥268,484 million).
Major Products: Printing inks, newspaper inks, UV/EB-curing inks, gravure inks, flexo inks, screen inks, highly reactive UV inks, metal decorative inks, hard coatings, graphic arts supplies, graphic arts equipment, can coating finishes, resins, adhesives, waxes, laminating adhesives, coatings and painting materials, pigments, processed pigments, plastic colorants, media materials, natural products.
Key Personnel: Kunio Sakuma, chairman; Katsumi Kitagawa, president and CEO; Katsumi Yamazaki, senior managing director and president of Toyo Ink Co., Ltd.; Hiroya Aoyama, senior managing director and CFO; Shuji Miyazaki, managing director and president of Toyocolor Co., Ltd.; Satoru Takashima, director and president of Toyochem Co., Ltd.
Number of Employees: 8,021 (consolidated).
Comments: Toyo Ink Group had a strong year in 2016, with UV and packaging inks enjoying excellent results, with $1.3 billion (¥144,616 million) in sales in its Printing and Information and Packaging Materials businesses, and consolidated sales of $2.41 billion (¥268,484 million) overall.
Haruhiko Akutsu, GM, Commercial and Publication Business Department Global Business Division for Toyo Ink Co., Ltd., said that the global economy showed mixed results.
“During fiscal 2016 (year ending March 31, 2017), the US economy has continued to recover on the back of strong personal consumption, but growth has slowed in China and other emerging countries,” Akutsu observed. “Moreover, a sense of uncertainty is growing in economies due to protectionism spreading in politics and societies. In addition, in response to this, Japan has faced continued sluggishness, although its economy is on a recovery trend.
“Consequently, net sales for the fiscal 2016 decreased to ¥268,484 million (down 5.2% year on year) partly due to the foreign exchange conversion of overseas companies’ results, but profits increased with operating profit of ¥19,222 million (up 4.1% year on year), ordinary profit of ¥19,257 million (up 3.0% year on year) and profit attributable to owners of parent of ¥12,687 million (up 4.1% year on year),” Akutsu added.
Group sales for fiscal 2015 for the overall Packaging Materials Related Business was relatively flat, at $566 million (¥62,965 million), and operating income increased 5.4% to $26 million (¥2,871 million), showing a rise in sales and income, with Toyo Ink’s strength in environmentally friendly products keying its growth.
In the Packaging Materials Related Business, Toyo Ink Group continuously expanded sales of non-toluene gravure inks for packaging for Southeast Asia and India, and released water-based flexographic inks and non-VOC-type EB (electron beam) curable flexographic inks for flexible packaging for Europe to proactively promote environmentally friendly products.
In addition to the continuous decline in domestic demand for gravure inks for publication, sales of solvents as resale products declined. On the other hand, domestic sales of mainstay gravure inks for packaging were strong, mainly for beverage and private brand applications. Demand for gravure inks for construction materials recovered in the latter half of the period, and profitability improved. Overseas, sales of eco-friendly inks for packaging continued to expand in Southeast Asia and India.
Sales in the Printing and Information Related Business for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017 declined 6.6%, at $734 million (¥81,651 million), but operating income rose 11.4% year on year, to $30 million (¥3,317 million).
In the Printing and Information Related Business, the Group promoted increased sales of UV inks on a global scale by releasing new products of energy-saving type UV curable offset inks and facilitated the development and sales expansion of hard coating agents for touch panels and inkjet inks for on-demand printing of various types in small lots for commercial and packaging uses.
In offset inks, the export profit from Japan was squeezed by the strong yen in the first half of the fiscal 2016, in addition to the continuous decrease in demand due to the structural depression where the information-related print market shrank associated with the progress of digitalization in Japan. Meanwhile, sales of UV ink expanded not only in Japan but also on a global scale, particularly in Europe, and hard coating agents for touch panels sold well. Sales were weak in China and Southeast Asia, reflecting the slowdown of economic activity. In India and Brazil, sales expanded and profitability also improved.
Toyo Ink Group reported numerous highlights during the past year, beginning with its move to new headquarters in Tokyo.
“The Toyo Ink Group kicked off 2017 at its new home in the Kyobashi Edogrand commercial complex in Tokyo,” Akutsu said. “The Group’s head office operations had been temporarily relocated to a nearby commercial building until November 2016, when the construction of the new high-rise came to completion. While the building is new, the location holds historical significance in that it has served as the head office of the Toyo Ink Group since 1907.”
For the Group, the past year was host to some significant technological breakthroughs. Toyo Ink Co., Ltd. rolled out two new series of low-energy UV-curable offset inks, the FLASH DRY LPC EX for ozone-free UV curing systems and the FLASH DRY LED EX for LED-UV curing systems.
“The latest additions to the FLASH DRY family demonstrate our commitment and ability to deliver innovative solutions that support the needs of our customers,” Akutsu said.
Another growth area for energy-curable inks is the packaging field, owing to their green properties, handling ease and high print quality. In keeping with the trend, Toyo Ink officially released the Elex-one series of zero-solvent, 100% solids EB (electron beam) curable flexo inks after a soft launch at last year’s drupa. The new series is completely VOC-free, making it an ideal solution for keeping flexible and carton packages free from unwanted residual compounds.
“Since drupa, we have been receiving more inquiries about Elex-one and our EB offering from new and existing customers,” Akutsu noted.
Another important highlight for the Toyo Ink Group was interpack 2017.
“Our debut showing at interpack provided us with a great opportunity to demonstrate to the global packaging industry the full range of solutions and capabilities that the Group can offer,” Akutsu reported. “In recent years, we have been investing heavily and implementing strategies to build up our brand image, in particular in markets outside Asia. Interpack enabled us to further build brand recognition in the industry and expand our customer base.”
In April 2017, Toyo Ink and Doneck Euroflex, a manufacturer of flexo and gravure inks for the European marketplace, announced a licensing agreement that allows Doneck to manufacture and sell Toyo Ink’s water-based lamination inks to markets in the region. The deal involves the AQUA LIONA flexo lamination ink and the AQUAECOL gravure lamination ink series, which are formulated to perform well on a wide variety of films, for applications such as snack food packaging, stand-up pouches and many other laminated packages.
With the agreement, both companies expect to strengthen their position in the competitive global packaging industry, as water-based alternatives to printing inks are projected to fuel the future growth of the industry, especially in the food packaging sector.
With the aim of expanding demand for low energy UV inks in line with the growing industry demand for UV-curable technology, Toyo Ink installed a dedicated UV ink production line in the summer of 2016 at the Fuji Plant, a facility in Japan operated by sister subsidiary Toyocolor Co. Meanwhile, Toyo Ink is also opening a new water-based ink plant in China.
“Toyo Ink is committed to bringing new products and services to the low-energy UV printing market by building a stable ink supply system through the ongoing streamlining of production lines and reinforcing economy of scale,” Akutsu noted. “With the demand for water-based ink systems poised to grow on a global scale, we will launch a new production base for water-based inks and sales expansion in the China region.”
To help its customers cope with differences in regulatory issues from region to region, the Toyo Ink Group maintains technical departments in every region to help implement and keep up with regional regulatory issues, and country or region-specific functional requirements.
“Each is dedicated to keeping up with regulatory changes and adapting product functions to regional standards,” Akutsu added.
In one key change, Toyo Ink Group is transitioning as it standardizes the closing date of the fiscal year for all Group companies from the current March 31 to Dec. 31. As a result of this change, fiscal 2017 will span a nine-month period from April 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017. Closing the books of all Group companies under a unified Dec. 31 is expected to help promote the integration of its global business operation and improve management transparency through the timely and appropriate disclosure of management information.
Akutsu said that Toyo Ink Group is looking forward to a strong year in 2017.
“As far as the coming year goes, the overall outlook for the Toyo Ink Group remains good in line with expectations,” Akutsu said. “Growth momentum is continuing in Japan due in part to a weak currency and improved external demand. However, the consequence of economic slowdowns in China and Southeast Asian markets remain a concern, and trends in currency rates and raw material pricing is still uncertain.
“As environmental regulations are expected to further tighten on a global level, Toyo Ink Group has been pressing forward with the development and business expansion of eco-friendly products, such as non-VOC sheetfed, water-based inkjet and water-based flexo and gravure, and energy curable products,” he added.
UV and water-based ink systems should also continue to flourish in the coming year, and inkjet is poised to expand as well.
“We expect to see solid growth across all sectors for UV inks, with sales of high reactivity UV offset being exceptionally strong on a global scale, in particular Europe and Japan,” Akutsu said. “The Group will also be making a greater push to expand sales of UV products in Southeast Asian markets as demand in the region for energy-conversing technology is on the rise. Toyo Ink sales of water-based gravure and flexo inks for flexible packaging are projected to grow in Europe under the licensing agreement with Doneck.
“Digital print continues to fare well in commercial print and labels and is forecast to increase in market share, particularly in packaging. Toyo Ink is closely watching this market and working to develop higher value inkjet ink systems to support digital print as new applications grow,” he concluded.