Flint Group sees price increases spread to Europe

By Rhys Handley, Monday 03 September 2018

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Flint Group has announced price increases for its conventional and UV sheetfed inks and coatings in Europe due to increasing challenges in the raw materials supply chain.

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Flint Group continues to be affected by the Blue Skies initiative in China, as well as tariff threats in the US

The increases vary by technology, the ink manufacturer said, but reach double digits for the products most affected by the "intense raw material challenges".

A key obstacle for the company has been the Blue Skies initiative continuing to take hold in China, which has seen a number of raw material producers shut down – often permanently.

Although Flint Group has assured customers that it has secured the raw materials it needs to meet customers’ needs, the uncertain landscape has kept the company on alert; of particular concern is the prospect of the US government increasing its tariffs against China.

Flint chief procurement officer Michael Podd said: “Because of the strong partnerships Flint Group has built with our suppliers over the years, we’ve earned preferred status among many Chinese and other raw material providers. This is a strong competitive advantage for us and our customers, as we can offer a more continuous supply of the inks printers need.

“We don’t expect any of the current raw material and supply chain challenges to abate any time soon. China’s government initiatives, European drought conditions, raw material demand from competing industries—no stone can be left unturned when it comes to managing the raw material market for inks and pigments.

“Flint Group is fortunate to benefit from a top-notch procurement team that works very closely with suppliers to manage through this unprecedented time and to gauge how the future of raw material supply will unfold.”

Podd said Flint would seek to source some raw materials from other regions and has succeeded in identifying a number of alternative raw materials that offer the same level of product performance.

However, in the case of UV photoinitiators, the identified alternatives are considerably more expensive, which will lead to further conversations with customers over the options that are now available.

The problems, the latest in a string of issues related to limited crude production and increased freight costs, were said by Flint to be exacerbating the supply chain across all segments of the print market.

Flint told customers it would continue to monitor evolving market trends.

In July, Flint was one of a number of ink manufacturers to announce price increases – adding 6% to its offset energy curable inks and coatings across North America. At the time, it alluded that impacts could reach Europe in the near future.

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