Komori acquires majority stake in Insight’s offset press sales operation

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Komori acquires majority stake in Insight’s offset press sales operation
Yosuke Hayakawa of Komori and Ajay Aggarwal of Insight sign off on Komori's acquisition of a majority stake in the offset press sales operations of the Insight group at Delhi on 16 February 2018

On 16 February 2018, Komori announced direct participation in sales and servicing of its offset presses in India by acquiring a majority stake in the offset sales operations of its distributor in the country, Insight Communications. The agreement’s implementation will take full effect and ‘get into full speed by 1 April 2018,’ according to a joint statement by the two organizations.

Komori is, of course, a leading manufacturer and supplier of sheet-fed offset, web offset, high-end packaging and security printing presses. Its overseas sales in the fiscal year ended 31 March 2017 accounted for 60.3% of consolidated net sales. Out of all its overseas markets, Komori gives a lot of attention to China, India and ASEAN countries due their robust economies. According to the statement, print demand is expected to grow rapidly in these regions due to booming population growth and burgeoning personal consumption. Keeping these factors in mind, Komori has positioned these countries as priority countries in its growth plans.

Since 2007, Insight has been an aggressive distributor of Komori products and has achieved significant success in terms of the number of presses installed and a leading position in the Indian market in the last three years. With strong relationships in the print industry built by representation of multiple products from global leaders, its marketing and sales has shown a great capacity for reaching across big print clusters and smaller cities and towns. In just ten years it has literally created a new market segment of printers who aspired to purchasing new presses but were hitherto unable to and established a strong footprint of 260 offset press installations. At the same time, it has developed an engineering and support service network.

The joint statement speaks of India’s impressive demographics—a population of 1.3 billion, half of whom are 24 years of age or younger. “The country clearly holds abundant potential for economic growth. Likewise, the market for offset printing presses is expected to grow at a much higher rate, exceeding the country’s GDP growth rate,” it says.

“To seize these opportunities, Komori decided to acquire majority stake in Insight Communications and Print Solution India Pvt. Ltd. and make it a subsidiary. The aim is to penetrate the Indian market even deeper. Not only does this move aim to boost sales of Komori offset printing presses, the acquisition of these shares is expected to help Komori and Insight engage in closer collaboration.”

Satoshi Mochida, president and chief operating officer, Komori Japan says, “We believe that these initiatives will help local printing companies better utilize high-value-added printing solutions and enhance the efficiency of their operations, thereby contributing to the development of India’s printing industry.” According to Sangam Khanna of Insight Communications, “It [the new structure] will result in Komori getting closer to the Indian customers and provide much better service, enhance product reliability and provide information and communications technology (ICT) solutions aimed at improving productivity. Future plans include creating various products tailored to meet local Indian requirements.”

Ajay Aggarwal of Insight says, “The new organization plans to adopt the best of both the local and global as the current team will continue to handle operations in India with enhanced support, investments and growth engines coming from Komori’s global presence.” Speaking with us on the phone, Aggarwal adds, “Komori will be operating out of our [Insight’s] new premises in Delhi/NCR and the two companies will continue to work closely on sales and servicing. Also, we will handle the western and southern India markets while Komori will more directly look after the northern and eastern India territories.”

Hirofumi Hoshino will be taking over as the managing director of the new venture. He joined Komori in 1977, after getting his degree in mechanical engineering, and was involved in press design and production. A core member of Komori’s Global Sales and Service Group and an associate board director, he has spent time working for Komori America as well as Komori Europe. Sangam Khanna will head the sales and marketing function in the restructured Komori majority owned sales and servicing organization.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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