Osaka 550-0002 Japan
Sales: $1.314 billion (¥147,459 million in printing ink and graphic arts); $1.402 billion (¥157,302 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 and coatings; UV/EB inks for sheetfed, flexible packaging and metal decorating; inkjet inks, toners and coatings.
Key Personnel: Kotaro Morita, representative director, president and CEO; Masaki Nakamura, director and managing executive officer; Hitoshi Nakamura, director and managing executive officer. Technical director: Yoshiaki Ueno, director and executive officer.
Number of Employees: 4,068.
Comments: Sakata INX had a strong year in 2017, with Ink & Graphic Arts sales rising to more than $1.3 billion. In particular, packaging and digital ink segments flourished for the company.
“While ink sales for paper media were sluggish in Japan, packaging ink and digital & specialty products sales both grew in 2017,” said Yuichi Kataura, GM International Operations Division’s GM at Sakata INX. “However, raw material prices increased globally from the latter half of last year, resulting in a decrease in profit. We continue to expand sales in 2018, but raw material prices are at an even higher level. We are addressing this issue by making further efforts to improve profitability.”
One highlight for Sakata INX was the award it received for its TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) efforts.
“As we are dedicated to conducting TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) activities, Sakata INX’s main plants in Japan won the TPM Advanced Special Award in December 2017,” Kataura reported. “We were honored based on the innovative production method, overseas TPM development, years of continuous efforts put into TPM activities, contribution to management, etc.
Kataura also noted that Sakata INX announced its “mid-term plan 2020” last November. “We will achieve sustainable growth as a global company by promoting innovations and challenges in our group,” he added.
Sakata INX is continuously investing in its operations. The company has centralized its inkjet ink production in Ohio, where it streamlined its production and added new equipment. In November 2016, INX acquired Creative Industria e Comercio Ltda., a leading Brazilian packaging ink company, and Sakata INX has strengthened its operations in Brazil and South America. Kataura also noted that the company is adding to its strong position in the Asia-Pacific region.
“We are planning to build a second plant in China (Maoming city, Guangdong Province) to respond to the expanding ink market for paper media and our efforts in expanding sales,” Kataura reported. “As the packaging ink market in Vietnam is growing, we are planning to build a second plant in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam for packaging ink, which is nearby the current facility.”
Sakata INX is facing challenges in raw material pricing and availability and is coping with these concerns.
“China’s tightening of environmental regulations resulted in a shortage in supply of pigments that are used as a main raw material and a global surge in prices for oil and naphtha, etc. causing raw material prices to increase,” said Kataura. “We have taken every measure that we can think of to absorb the increased cost by streamlining production to reduce cost, cutting various expenses, etc. However, the increase in cost has come to a level that we can no longer absorb. As such, we have announced a price increase to our consumers.”
Overall, Kataura sees excellent opportunities ahead for Sakata INX.
“We forecast that our packaging ink and environmentally conscious ink sales will continue to increase, which are the main focus in Sakata INX Group’s printing ink business,” Kataura concluded. “In the digital and specialty products business, we anticipate further increase in sales in inkjet ink for industrial use and pigment dispersions for liquid crystal display. On the other hand, we forecast that raw materials used in printing ink will stay at a high level for the time being. We expect increases in labor cost, depreciation expenses, etc. for strengthening our business foundation and making investments to expand operations.”