Fujifilm reports on 2021, grows inkjet

Jo Francis
Thursday, May 12, 2022

Fujifilm plans to build a global manufacturing structure to satisfy the needs of the growing inkjet market, while at its plates business more price increases are necessary to keep the business sustainable.

Fujifilm: building a global manufacturing structure for inkjet market
Fujifilm: building a global manufacturing structure for inkjet market

In its results for the financial year ending 31 March, the overall Fujifilm group of businesses posted overall sales up 15.2% at ¥2,526bn (£15.8bn), while operating profit jumped 38.8% to ¥229.7bn. 

Sales at the group’s Healthcare division surged on the back of demand for Covid-related products, and it became Fuji’s biggest business unit, generating record sale up 38.4% at nearly ¥802bn.

Its Materials division, which includes Graphic Communications, posted sales up 10.8% at ¥627.2bn while operating margins improved to 10.9% (2020: 9.1%).

Sales at Graphic Communications rose by 9.6% to ¥289.4bn. Fujifilm said the sales increase included a recovery in sales of printing plates as the “resumption in economic activity led to an upturn in printing demand”.

However, earlier this week Fujifilm announced that it would need to implement a “double-digit” price increase for plates in EMEA, effective 1 June. 

Fujifilm said that ongoing increases in the cost of raw aluminium, other raw materials, energy, and in its supply chain were now impossible to absorb. 

It said that despite its efficiency efforts and additional surcharges that have already been passed onto customers “the continued supply of aluminium offset printing plates is not viable without further increases”.

Taku Ueno, senior vice president at Fujifilm Graphic Systems EMEA, commented: "Globally, we continue to see an unprecedented rises in costs, particularly for logistics, energy and raw materials. 

“Despite absorbing a lot of these costs, we have no choice but to increase the base price of our aluminium printing plates in order to be able to operate a sustainable business. We understand that passing these price increases onto our customers presents them with difficult challenges, but the business is simply unsustainable without the increases.”

He said Fujifilm would “continue to work with and support our customers through this challenging period”.

Regarding the Graphic Communications division’s year-end results, the past year also involved a significant milestone for Fujifilm as it launched its own-brand Revoria range of toner-based digital presses into some markets last summer, followed by the Jet Press 750S HS B2 inkjet model in November. 

At its inkjet business, Fujifilm said that sales of industrial inkjet printheads were “steady”, and reflected growing demand from the construction material printing markets in Europe and China. 

Sales of mainly dye inks for household and office markets were up. 

In March the business announced a further $28m (£23m) expansion of its US-based pigment dispersion business for water-based pigment inkjet inks to meet demand in fast-growing inkjet markets, including packaging, textile and commercial printing. 

“We will accelerate business growth further by building a global manufacturing structure that satisfies the needs of the inkjet market,” Fujifilm stated. 

Like-for-like comparisons with the mostly pre-pandemic financial year to 31 March 2020 are difficult because Fujifilm has changed its divisional structure since and also exited the Fuji-Xerox partnership. 

Overall sales for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2020 were ¥2,315bn and operating income was ¥186.6bn. 

Fujifilm is also set to showcase the first two printers in its new own-make Acuity wide-format range – the Acuity Prime and Acuity Ultra R2 – at the upcoming Fespa Global Print Expo show in Berlin, along with further details about the vision for its wide-format offering under the banner of ‘Blueprint Live’. 

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