Phone: +44 (0)161 776 6810
Fax: +44 (0)161 775 5415
Sales: 2018 revenues of Flint Group were
€2.1 billion ($2.4 billion).
Major Products: A wide range of inks, coatings, blankets, pressroom chemistry, printing plates, consumables and more. Expertise in solvent-based, water-based, oil-based and energy curable technologies for various applications, including offset lithography, flexography, gravure, rotary screen, rotary offset, digital and letterpress. Products are designed to support nearly all print segments in the print media and packaging sectors. Also sells pigments, chips and resins for ink and other applications, aqueous dispersions, hyperdispersants and additives for the colorant market; pressroom chemicals; printing blankets; and flexographic plates, sleeves and printing equipment. With the acquisition of Xeikon, Flint Group shows its commitment to expanding digital platforms. Flint Group Digital Solutions offers a unique mix of equipment, consumables and services.
Key Personnel: Pierre-Marie De Leener, chairman; Antoine Fady, CEO, Flint Group Packaging business; Steve Dryden, CEO, Commercial, Publication & Sheetfed Inks (CPS); Aryan Moelker, president Image Transfer Solutions; Adhemur Pilar, president Flint Group Latin America; Benoit Chatelard, president Digital Solutions; Doug Aldred, president Packaging Inks; Guillaume Clement, president Narrow Web; Tony Lord, COO Commercial, Publication & Sheetfed Inks; Jeremy Berenzweig, general counsel and SVP – legal; Russell Taylor, SVP, global human resources, HSE, communications and sustainability.
Number of Employees: Approximately 7,500 worldwide.
Comments: Flint Group is the second-largest ink manufacturer in the world, with consolidated sales of $2.4 billion. In spite of higher raw material costs, the company reported a solid year in 2018, driven by growth in packaging.
“The industry was very competitive in 2018, and raw material markets were challenging, but the Flint Group Packaging division did well, growing in revenue over the prior year in most segments,” said Antoine Fady, CEO Flint Group Packaging. “Packaging print markets grow slowly and can be affected by a variety of economic factors, but we move into 2019 optimistic about long-term opportunities.”
Flint Group anticipates continued growth in its Packaging Inks’ businesses.
“The markets for Flexible Packaging and Paper & Board are growing everywhere in the world, and Flint Group’s key objective is to be the supplier of choice for these markets and continue our growth trajectory,” said Deanna Klemesrud, global marketing director – Packaging Inks for Flint Group. “We remained focused on the global packaging market and are determined to develop streamlined products, services, and processes which will support our customers’ current and future needs.”
Meanwhile, Flint Group’s Commercial, Publication & Sheetfed Inks (CPS) Inks division faced more difficult times, as the publication and commercial printing industry continue to decline.
“Consistent with prior years, the commercial and publication print industries contracted in 2018 due to consumers’ continued preference for online communications,” Steve Dryden, CEO, CPS Inks, noted. “CPS Inks’ volumes were affected by that ongoing trend, but our teams did a great job of working smarter and managing costs. Overall, it was a tough but successful year for
Dryden sees opportunities for growth in the coming year, particularly in sheetfed.
“In the commercial and publication segments of the printing industries, sheetfed will likely experience a modest increase, with slightly higher growth levels in packaging and UV sheetfed segments,” he observed. “In 2019, CPS Inks expects to increase sheetfed revenue and remain the leader in heatset and coldset segments.”
Flint Group continues to expand its international operations. In Shanghai, the company opened its $2 million regional Technology Center Asia Pacific (ATC) at the Shanghai Publishing and Printing College (SPPC).
“The ATC is an important milestone within our global innovation network to help our customers capturing the growth in the packaging market. We can not only showcase what can be done within the flexographic printing space, but more importantly, provide a platform to develop solutions with and for our customers and the entire value chain,” said Friedrich von Rechteren, global commercial VP.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, Flint Group opened a new 12,000 square foot automated packaging ink production facility and technical lab in Westmead, Kwazulu Natal. The facility is already producing solvent-based inks, and by the end of 2019, water-based production will be operational.
“It was clear that we were outgrowing our current manufacturing facility and in late 2017 we started to explore the region for a suitable location,” added Bob Allan-Reynolds, GM Flint Group Africa “We acquired a plant in Westmead and started the process of customizing it to meet our requirements.”
Raw materials remain a concern for ink manufacturers, with price increases driving ink companies to issue price increases of their own while also absorbing some of the higher costs. In August, Flint Group announced price increases on conventional and UV sheetfed inks and coatings in Europe.
“Raw material consolidation continues without pause,” said Tony Lord, COO of Flint Group’s CPS Inks division. “China’s ‘Blue Skies’ initiative continues to force raw material companies to shut down – often permanently.”
“The raw material market remains volatile,” said Arno de Groot, VP procurement of Flint Group’s Packaging division, “affecting a wide variety of materials used in printing inks, including solvents, additives and more. In particular, costs of pigments and photoinitiators have spiked due to regulatory controls in China. Ink manufacturing in the US and Europe are affected by regulations such as Prop 65 in California and REACH in Europe, and some regional guidelines have global impacts due to the global nature of our industry.”