Phone: +49 89 9003 0
Fax: +49 89 9003 222
Sales: $990 million (€825 million).
Major Products: Sheetfed, coldset and heatset offset inks; solvent-based gravure inks for packaging; water- and solvent-based flexo inks for packaging; UV offset and flexo inks; security inks; screen inks; fountain solutions, varnishes and transfer inks.
Key Personnel: Executive Board MHM Holding GmbH: Heiner Klokkers, chairman and CEO; Taner Bicer, CTO; Michael Geiger, CFO; Ashwani Bhardwaj, member of the Executive Board and director RBU Asia/Pacific. Additional RBU Directors: Derek McFarland, director RBU Americas (hubergroup USA Inc.); Dr. Dirk Aulbert, director RBU Europe (MHM Holding GmbH).
Number of Employees: 3,500 worldwide.
Comments: An international leader in printing inks, coatings and pressroom auxiliaries, hubergroup’s 40 companies serve the packaging, commercial and newsprinting segments. The company enjoyed a successful year, recording $990 million (€820 million) in sales, although it was a challenging year due to raw materials and the decline of print media.
“The main topics for us were the raw material cost increase for all products and the continuing downturn of the print media markets,” said Heiner Klokkers, hubergroup’s chairman and CEO. “We expect 2018 to continue in that mode, with rising costs for raw materials in all segments and the requirement for price adjustments, on top of the severe market disruption with photoinitiators for energy curing systems.”
In major news, hubergroup announced its new leadership structure, with long-time chairman Ursula Borgmann retiring. Borgmann had been a leader at hubergroup for more than 30 years. Klokkers became chairman of the Management Board on Jan. 1, 2018. Taner Bicer will take over the technology division within the group.
“Heiner Klokkers knows the strengths of hubergroup and the market for printing inks like no one else,” said Klaus Greger, chairman of the advisory board of the printing ink manufacturer. “The owners and the advisory board therefore place their trust in him to strategically position the hubergroup as a long-term oriented family-owned company for the next decade and to design the necessary measures to meet future challenges.”
“In 2017 we laid the groundwork for our new leadership structure with our chairman, Ms. Ursula Borgmann, handing over her chairmanship and the directorship of technology,” Klokkers said. “The ongoing structural changes are also very important to us and will further strengthen our business relationships. A particular highlight was the acquisition of Alden & Ott. With its awesome team we were able to create immediate growth in our US business.”
To try to make up for part of the price increases, hubergroup announced price increases in the Americas and Europe is early 2018. The company raised prices for solvent-based inks in Europe in January, all inks and coatings in North America and South America in February, and sheetfed and UV offset inks and varnishes across Europe in April.
“The higher raw material prices have to be passed on to our clients,” said Klokkers. “While process improvements and backward integration for all key raw materials made it possible to mitigate most of the rising raw material cost in the past, this is no longer possible. Among other raw material, the entire ink industry (but also the paints and coatings industry) is struggling e.g. with key products for azo pigments and photoinitiators, as well as with the very important white pigment TiO2.
“The biggest regulatory concern right now is the reclassification or the potential reclassification of some key raw materials like photoinitiators, TiO2 and a few others which are key for our industry,” Klokkers added.
“Key raw materials like azo and phthalocyanine pigments, carbon black and the largest part of our additive portfolio (all ink product lines), MMA-based acrylate resins (water-based varnishes), UV monomers and oligomers, photoinitiators (all UV product lines) have seen increasing prices especially during the fourth quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, and this rise in prices will have a significant impact on our raw material costs,” said Dirk Aulbert, head of the Business Unit Europe within hubergroup.
On the R&D front, hubergroup launched Eco-Offset Inks Premium Plus low-migration and low-odor sheetfed offset packaging inks and coatings for conventional offset food packaging printing, as well as inks and coatings suitable for the manufacture of toys. These inks have earned the prestigious Cradle to Cradle Silver status.
hubergroup’s Klokkers sees bright times ahead.
“All in all, it is a challenging times for ink makers,” Klokkers concluded. “Although we have a lot of challenges that will need to be managed during the rest of this and the coming year, we are still optimistic. The continuing growth of our ink business for flexible packaging and UV inks in Europe, Asia and South America is making us happy.”