Osaka 550-0002 Japan
Sales: $1.375 billion (¥151,806 million in printing ink and graphic arts); $1.467 billion (¥162,056 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; Yoshiaki Ueno, technical director; Toshihiko Fukunaga, director and senior executive officer.
Number of Employees: 4,203.
Comments: SAKATA INX had a solid year in 2018, enjoying 3% growth in its printing ink and graphic arts sales to $1.375 billion, led by packaging inks and specialty products.
“While ink sales for paper media in 2018 were sluggish in developed countries, packaging ink and digital and specialty product sales both grew,” said Shingo Watano, GM of IOD for Sakata INX Corp. “However, raw material prices increased globally, resulting in a decrease in profits. We have expanded sales from the start of 2019, but raw material prices remain at high levels due to tight environmental regulations and an increase in import duties from the U.S.-China trade dispute.”
Watano said that Sakata INX had a number of highlights during the past year, beginning with its new Executive Officer System.
“Sakata INX Corp. introduced the Executive Officer System in March 2018,” Watano noted. “This system should enable us to respond appropriately and promptly to changes in the business environment. As such, Sakata INX shared the division of responsibility between management decision-making and the supervisory and business execution functions. This system is also aimed to streamline operations and efficient management by clarifying the division of responsibility of business execution.”
The company also expanded its efforts in South America, adding a new 24,000 square foot plant in Itatiba, Brazil that will manufacture 2-piece metal deco inks. The facility is designed to produce approximately 9 million pounds of product every year.
Sakata INX is coping with higher raw material costs, combing cost-cutting with price increases of its own.
“We have taken various measures to absorb the increased cost by streamlining production, cutting various expenses, and changing the procurement method,” Watano reported. “We are asking for a price increase from our customers to cover the increase in costs that we can no longer absorb.”
Watano said that Sakata INX will be continuing its R&D efforts, which will, in turn, lead to further growth in the coming years.
“It goes without saying that we will develop environmentally friendly products. Furthermore, we are utilizing our core technologies such as polymer design, pigment dispersion and material control technology to deploy image display material, functional coating material, energy material, functional colorants and others,” Watano added.
While Watano and Sakata INX are concerned about geopolitical issues facing the industry in general, he believes that there are significant opportunities ahead, particularly in packaging and environmentally friendly products.
“The situation is not optimistic due to economic effects and raw material prices as there are many matters to be concerned about, such as Chinese environmental regulations, the US-China trade dispute and Brexit,” Watano said. “On the other hand, we continue to see steady economic growth in newly developing countries, mainly Asia. The global demand for packages continues to grow, and we believe that packaging ink sales volume will increase. As marine plastic and plastic waste become a global issue, we think film packaging will be reconsidered globally. We will propel development and expand sales of environmentally friendly products since we expect the demand for such products will increase even more.”