Osaka 550-0002 Japan
Sales: $1.435 billion (¥156,556 million in printing ink and graphic arts); $1.533 billion (¥167,237 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 and managing executive officer; Toshihiko Fukunaga, director and senior executive officer.
Number of Employees: 4,547.
Comments: The third-largest ink manufacturer in the world, Sakata INX had a strong year in 2019, led by packaging ink and inkjet ink sales, overcoming sluggish ink sales for information media in developed countries and slow sales in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region.
“Favorable packaging ink sales in North America and Europe, and good sales of inkjet ink in the digital and specialty product business, resulted in growth in revenue,” said Katsuya Tanaka, GM – International Operations Department of the Corporate Planning division of Sakata INX Corp. “Successful price increases in each region led to an improvement in profit and increases in sales volume contributed to the increased profit.
“As for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been drastic ink production volume decreases, price increases in some raw materials, and some difficulty in the procurement of raw materials due to the lockdown by the government in some parts of Asia,” Tanaka added. “Ink sales for information media remained at low levels. In Japan, packaging ink sales were weak due to food loss, waste reduction and climate instability. Sales in the Asia region also grew at a sluggish pace.”
Sakata INX and its US subsidiary, INX International Ink Co., were active in the past 12 months, making a significant acquisition and adding new facilities worldwide.
In June 2020, INX International Ink Co. announced it finalized its acquisition of RUCO Druckfarben. Headquartered in Eppstein, Germany, RUCO Druckfarben was the 24th ranked ink manufacturer in the 2019 Ink World International Top Ink Report, reporting sales of $44 million.
A specialist in inks for screen, pad, gravure, flexo and dry offset printing, the company has approximately 150 employees.
Meanwhile, the company has added new facilities in Asia Pacific and the US.
“Last year we announced new plant construction in Bangladesh and it’s expected to be completed in 2021,” Tanaka reported. “In June, the inkjet ink research and development functions were consolidated with our recently redesigned R&D facility in West Chicago, IL. In July, the second packaging ink plant will be built in the same industrial park as the first plant that launched operations in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.”
Tanaka noted that Sakata INX is coping with raw material pricing and availability.
“We have taken various measures to absorb the increased cost by streamlining production, cutting various expenses, changing procurement methods, etc.,” Tanaka said. “We have implemented price increases for two years to cover the increase in cost that we can no longer absorb.”
Overall, the world economy is reeling from COVID-19, making it hard to project what the rest of the year holds.
“The COVID-19 global pandemic has greatly affected our business,” Tanaka noted. “It is very difficult to get a clear view of the future due to the possibility of a major change in future social and economic situations. On top of it, the US-China trade dispute has become an international issue and there has been no hint of improvement. The crude oil price dropped rapidly the other day; we have such instability factors in both sales and material purchases. On the other hand, in developing countries that have experienced remarkable economic growth, we should be able to continue to expect increases in packaging demand with increasing population and economic development.”