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Corporate Report

Published on: June 19, 2023, 12:32 p.m.
Siegwerk India: Printing a success story
  • Pradhan: offering customised solutions

By Arbind Gupta. Assistant Editor, Business India

Siegwerk India Pvt Ltd is expanding its presence in India. As a subsidiary of the Siegwerk Group, a family business with a history of 200 years, it is a prominent global provider of printing inks and coatings for packaging applications and labels. In recent times, it has made rapid strides in the fast-growing Indian market. With its headquarters located in Siegburg near Cologne, Germany, the €1.3-billion German group entered India in 2006-07, after acquiring the packaging ink business of Swiss major SICPA Holding SA in 2005. Since then, Siegwerk has been striving to establish itself in the market.

The past few years have been remarkable for Siegwerk India as its revenue increased from around Rs450 crore in FY16 to around Rs900 crore in FY23. The company achieved this growth with the support of over 500 employees and a modern manufacturing facility (a Centre of Excellence and Centre of Competence) for printing inks and coatings located in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan. With a production capacity of 35,000 metric tonnes and nine blending centres, Siegwerk India, with its corporate office also in Bhiwadi, is on track to exceed Rs1,000 crore in revenue for the current fiscal year.

The company’s Bhiwadi manufacturing site is its largest outside Europe. The Siegwerk Group currently has a global network of 15 Centres of Excellence, 17 Centres of Competence and 50 blending centres spread across 35 countries in North & South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. A global market leader in advanced packaging ink, the Siegwerk Group has been operating for 6 generations, making it one of the oldest family-owned businesses in Europe. It serves customers in more than 100 countries.

“Over the years, India has emerged as one of the fastest growing markets for the Siegwerk Group. Today, we are one of the prominent players in the market, offering customised solutions for our clients in the growing packaging industry. Going forward, we will continue to ramp up our market presence. We formulate our inks and coatings with the highest technology and safety standards ensuring an optimum performance boost for our customers who in the given scenario are increasingly looking for solutions which help them meet their printing and coating requirement in a more responsible manner,” says Ashish Pradhan, President Asia, Siegwerk.

Today, Siegwerk India, has actively been expanding its presence in flexible packaging, which now contributes about 45 per cent of its revenue as compared to around 10 per cent in the past. It is not only meeting the growing demand of the Indian market where it holds a market share of around 10-15 per cent, but it also serves the South East Asian region.

The company focuses on delivering high quality products and fostering innovation. It currently provides printing inks and coatings to all major packaging companies (converters) like TCPL Packaging, Huhtamaki, Amcor, Parkson and Borkar Packaging. These companies, in turn have clients in various industries including tobacco, liquor, food & beverage, consumer goods, pharmaceutical and others.

“We have been associated with Siegwerk for over the past two decades, and admire them for their superior service, their technology and problem-solving attitude. They are very customer focused and are committed to ethical business practices. We have had a mutually beneficial relationship, and more importantly, trust in each other has been a cornerstone in the relationship,” states Saket Kanoria, managing director, TCPL Packaging Ltd.

  • The company’s Bhiwadi manufacturing site is its largest outside Europe

“Our relationship with Siegwerk spans many years. They have been our strategic business partners and have been supporting us not only by supplying inks on time every time, but also going that extra mile to support our business endeavours. They have opened depots in Goa and Baddi for our inks and varnish requirements, thus reducing the need to store stock. Thanks to this, we get inks within 24 hours at all our four locations – Goa, Nalagarh, Kolkata and Daman. With their state-of-the-art ink system – Vega Vibrant Plus – we have now reduced our wastages and machine downtime. Their print service team is always available and they reach us within 24 hours thus reducing downtime. Apart from being reliable ink suppliers, they are now our reliable and trusted business partners,” says Amol Anil Borker, Director, Borkar Packaging Pvt Ltd.

“The requirements for inks and coatings are complex and vary from packaging applications, intended purpose, used materials, and printing technology. Printing inks and coatings not only add colour to product labels and packaging, but also ensure their functionality and safety. They contribute to meeting brand identity, fulfilling information needs and protecting packaged goods. They are essential elements to ensure the desired performance of packaging. Printing ink manufacturers are today increasingly trying to incorporate safety and sustainability into their production,” states R Sridharan, president, All India Printing Ink Manufacturers’ Association (AIPIMA).

With its broad portfolio of high-quality inks and coatings, Siegwerk offers solutions for a wide range of packaging applications and labels covering various production and printing processes. The company provides solvent-based and water-based inks for flexible packaging, narrow web, plastic tubes, sheetfed printing, paper and board, tobacco packaging, liquid food packaging and digital printing. These tailor-made solutions help packaging to perform effectively during conversion (including materials, format and filling), on store shelves, during consumer usage and even in the post-consumption material-to-waste process.

Sustainable packaging solutions

“From basic to premium solutions for high-end packaging, from standard to low migration demands, from renewable resources to biodegradability, we always support our customers to develop safe, efficient, and sustainable packaging and label solutions that differentiate them from others. We provide printers, converters and brand owners with high-quality ink and coating solutions customised to their individual needs,” says Pradhan, who has played an instrumental role in scaling up the business in the Indian market.

An engineer with a Post Graduate Degree in Management Studies, Pradhan brings nearly 30 years of experience to the packaging industry. He has undergone executive education programs at prestigious institutions such as Harvard and INSEAD in France. He also holds a diploma in International Trade from the Indian Institute of Materials Management and a diploma in Packaging from the Institute of Packaging, UK.

Pradhan took over as CEO of Siegwerk India in 2016 and was promoted as President, overseeing both Siegwerk India and Greater China in 2019. He has been instrumental in the growth of Siegwerk’s business in the Indian sub-continent and has also transformed Siegwerk China into a profitable entity. He has brought a dynamic cultural change to the organisations in India and China. On 1 January, 2021, he took on the role of President Asia, Siegwerk, which includes the South East Asia business, along with India and Greater China. Before joining Siegwerk in 2015, Pradhan held senior positions with companies such as Huhtamaki, Henkel and International Paper.

  • Siegwerk’s technology experts constantly work to improve its ink and coating solutions

Inks play a critical role in the safety of packaged food and Siegwerk is a strong advocate of safety in food packaging. The company is the first in India to venture into one of the safest operations with the launch of mineral oil-free inks, even in the absence of any regulations against mineral-oils inks in India. Previously, the company strongly advocated the ban of toluene, another toxic solvent used in packaging inks.

In December 2022, Siegwerk India celebrated its fifth anniversary of operating without toluene in India. Siegwerk has already adopted a toluene-free policy across all its other packaging ink factories worldwide, long before.

“In 2017, when we decided to go toluene-free, we had to let go of some of our businesses since at that time a part of our business was toluene-based. It was a conscious call to take a hit in a way, and that was one of the most difficult decisions. However, we had to take this decision in the best interest of our employees, employees of our customers and for the market. We have more than recovered our losses because now the market has understood why we did it and brand owners and our customers support us,” says Pradhan. 

“Siegwerk is a global leader in providing product safety and consumer protection is one of our highest priorities. Therefore, we have a team of experts exclusively dedicated to safety regarding both regulatory compliance and brand owner requirements to ensure that our products are safe for the intended end-use applications. We continuously exchange notes with our customers and adapt our solutions to their needs without compromising on safety standards. It is all about transparency along the value chain to ensure maximum product safety,” adds Pradhan.

Siegwerk offer a wide range of circular solutions designed to make packaging fit the needs of a circular economy and is striving to further broaden its offerings with new innovative and sustainable solutions. “In this context, we are not only looking at our core business as an ink and coating manufacturer but also address innovation gaps with new business models to drive circularity across the entire value chain,” explains a company spokesperson.

The company actively collaborates with various stakeholders towards developing more sustainable packaging solutions. It is currently engaged in the development of specialised coatings that facilitate the creation of single-layer laminates with comparable properties to multi-layer packaging materials, making them easier to recycle. It is also working towards the paperisation of packaging.

Furthermore, it is working on the development of a specialised detergent which can remove the ink from the packaging material, thus making it easy to recycle.

Circular packaging solutions

“At Siegwerk, our ink technology experts around the world harness their extensive knowledge of packaging applications and new packaging concepts to constantly improve the performance of our ink and coating solutions always adapting them to the latest technology, design, and regulatory requirements. Additionally, we continuously rethink our solutions to boost material performance and reduce complexity of packaging structures and we focus on driving the development of circular packaging solutions,” states Pradhan.

Currently, Siegwerk India competes with large players like DIC, Huber, Sakata, Flint Group and Toyo Ink. Besides, the Rs9,000-crore Indian printing ink industry also has around 300-odd small to medium-size ink manufacturing companies. Growing at around 8-9 per cent, the Indian printing ink industry is likely to maintain this momentum going forward as the industries it serves are growing steadily. In fact, India has emerged as one of the largest consumers and producers of inks in the Asia Pacific region.

  • We provide printers, converters and brand owners with high-quality ink and coating solutions customised to their individual needs

“The packaging industry is doing quite well. In fact, the flexible packaging segment of our ink business has been growing at around 13-15 per cent or so. The demand for flexible packaging has witnessed significant growth in the last decade or so and this momentum is likely to be maintained going forward. However, our per capita consumption of ink is still quite low as compared to developed nations and hence India presents a huge potential for printing ink makers,” says Sridharan of AIPIMA.

Meanwhile, the size of the Indian packaging market is estimated at $71.90 billion in 2023, and is expected to reach $130.14 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 12.60 per cent. Experts believe that the demand for packaging in India has expanded drastically, spurred by the rapid growth in consumer markets, especially in processed food, personal care, and pharmaceutical end-user industries.

Packaging is one of India’s fastest growing sectors. Over the last few years, the industry has been a key driver of technology and innovation, contributing to various manufacturing sectors, including agriculture and the fast-moving consumer goods sectors.

The packaging industry is driven by factors such as rising population, increasing income levels, and changing lifestyles. All these are expected to drive consumption across various industries leading to higher demand for packaging product solutions. According to the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP), packaging consumption in India has increased by nearly 200 per cent in the last decade, from 4.3 kg per person per annum in 2010 to around 9.0 kg in 2020. Despite this sharp growth the industry holds substantial potential for growth compared to other developed countries worldwide.

With all these developments in place, Siegwerk India is well positioned to further expand its operations in India. As a family-owned business in its sixth generation, it leverages nearly 200 years of expertise and knowledge in the printing industry. The Siegwerk group has a long and successful history and it is now poised to replicate its success story in India.

Over the last few years, the company has significantly scaled up its operations in India, supplying its advanced packaging inks and coating to stakeholders in the packaging industry where it is focussed on the rapidly-growing flexible packaging segment. 

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