16 December 2018 Analogue Printing Technologies

Korean inkmaker eyes opportunities in the West

The largest litho ink maker in South Korean is working with industry experts to build a network to distribute and support its range of inks around the globe.

A Korean ink maker is looking for distributors in the UK, aided by Print Business Solutions, a company set up by three dyed in the wool ink executives.

The South Korean company is Kwang Myung Ink, the leading producer in the country and one of the largest names in Asia. It was started more than 40 years ago by Lee Nam Kyu, a chemist working for Toyo Ink. Today his son Jason Lee is president of the business and has ambitions to increase its international scope.

This has led to the appointment of PBS, set up by Romain Boulot, its president, Peter Baird, as global sales and marketing, and Richard Wilson, each previously working at Flint Ink. They aim to find a network of distributors in different parts of the world, Baird focusing on distributors, Boulot aiming at major accounts and Wilson acting as technical director.

Currently KMI produces four colour process inks with a number of families, each meeting international standards and stressing high quality. Lee says: “We see a significant opportunity to expand into new geographies and into new product segments. Our driver for success will always remain our focus on product quality and lean cost management.

“This long term partnership with the PBS team will allow us to accelerate our business development. Their offset market expertise and global coverage is a perfect fit to deliver on KMI’s strategy.”

Baird says that the inks have impressed during controlled trials with western printers. “They are really good quality,” he says. “We can open up routes to market in areas they can’t reach as they aim to become a recognised global player.”

PBS will focus on a limited number of countries to establish the inks with the right level of support, so increase the profile of the product. International sales to many countries have been more opportunistic than strategic for the business. “We will concentrate on their mid range ink. This has the level of quality and performance as premium inks from established suppliers,” says Baird. “It’s a good product at a good price with strong prospects.”

The company will supply all styles of offset ink, though bulk inks for newspaper and web offset will not be cost effective to ship over long distances.

As KMI also produces its own resins, it has greater control over combinations of how the ink is made and over its profit margins. At a time when ink makers are under pressure to increase prices or make savings on the support side, the integrated approach could provide the opening for KMI to exploit.

Currently the company produces only standard paste inks, though the potential is there to add energy cured inks to the KMI portfolio that PBS will be discussing. PBS is also in discussions to build a portfolio of matched products that it will be able to offer distributors with the technical support that can sometimes be in scarce suppply.

Gareth Ward

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Romain Boulot puts pen to paper with Jason Lee giving Print Business Solutions the task of expanding KMI's global presence and taking Korean inks worldwide.

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