Flint Group raises ink prices amid rising raw material costs

Tania Mason
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Flint Group has announced price increases of between 4% and 7% for all its packaging, narrow web and sheetfed inks and varnishes.

The Luxembourg-based company blamed the price rises on a “prolonged period of significant raw material cost inflation, force majeure announcements and changes in the supply outlook for raw materials for printing inks and varnishes”.

The higher prices, which will vary by product group, come into effect on 3 April.  Flint’s Packaging, Narrow Web & Sheetfed Division business managers will contact customers over the next few days to discuss details.

Last November Flint Group signed a deal with KBA that would see Flint Group’s conventional sheetfed inks used in the commissioning of all new KBA conventional sheetfed offset presses worldwide.

The latest price hikes come on top of a price rise and a variable surcharge announced by Flint on 22 February, on the back of supply constraints and inflation of around 25% in the global titanium dioxide market.

But security of supply for many ink-related raw materials has deteriorated further since that announcement, prompting Flint to impose this additional price increase.

Adhemur Pilar, president of Flint Group South America, said: “We have been subject to compelling volatility in our supply chain for some time now. Our focus has always remained on securing product quality and long-term availability. Unfortunately, this has led to the higher costs that we are now experiencing.”

Flint has just published a Raw Material Update containing a summary introduction headlined ‘The world is not becoming easier’.

The report shows that crude oil prices rose 50% in the first half of 2016 before sustaining a further jump of $10 a barrel in November. The prices of base chemicals such as benzene and toluene have also risen significantly and pigment prices have begun to turn upwards too, by up to 9%.

Vegetable oil prices increased by 15% in 2016 and is expected to climb a further 10% this year. Prices of solvents and starches are also rising fast.

The report stated: “Environmental pressure continues to intensify and many producers are forced to commit more money to environmental protection, not just for waste water but also solid waste and air pollution.

“Air pollution remains an issue within China and worsened during the winter. The government has asked many factories to shut down or reduce production to mitigate air pollution. Similar problems have also started to surface in India.“

Rubber chemicals used to manufacture flexographic printing plates have suffered “extreme increases”, Flint reports, with butadiene almost tripling in price since Q3 2016.

In January the UK print industry endured price hikes of up to 10% on paper across the board, followed closely by further increases from several mills on coated and uncoated woodfree grades.



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