Marabu Group acquires Icon Inks to extend its product portfolio

The integration will enable Marabu to improve its services in Asian markets

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Marabu Team Asia
Marabu Team Asia

Marabu Group has acquired Icon Inks, ireasinncreasing its international footprint. The move will extend the company’s product portfolio and further strengthen customer service and centricity.  

“We have high hopes for this acquisition,” states Jon Bultemeyer, Executive Vice President, Business Unit Screen and Pad Printing Inks. “We are always looking to identify segments with strong future prospects. Until recently, our focus had consciously not included textiles. But the market environment is very dynamic, and it is important that our business is broadly based.” 

“Textile printing remains one of the largest global screen printing segments. Icon Inks is a leading brand, and this acquisition gives us access to new markets and new skills. Icon Inks has a high profile in Asia and is a valuable addition to our existing Marabu ink offering. By expanding our product portfolio, we are now able to offer screen printing inks for textiles, in addition to our pad printing solutions.”

Marabu broadens its range of applications

The purchase of Icon Inks allowed the company to expand its addressable segments to include textile printing. In 2020, Marabu launched its pioneering Maqua Pad Map ink. This premium-quality solution is the world’s first water-based pad printing ink. Icon Inks products are an ideal addition to the existing portfolio and will help Marabu extend its focus on water-based products and expand its textile printing footprint. As Jon Bultemeyer emphasizes: “Textile printing is an exciting field for us. Inks vary by type, depending on the use case. They can be based on water, solvent, plastisol, or silicone.” 

Current Icon Inks products are employed by many leading manufacturers, predominantly in Asia. The company will initially continue to offer the existing portfolio unchanged so that Icon Inks customers can be sure of consistently reliable quality. However, Marabu plans to take the product offering global and to extend its scope.

Enhanced customer service with local production and multiple sites

The integration of Icon Inks into the group will enable Marabu Shanghai to extend and improve its services in Asian markets. Ink formulations tailored to regional customer requirements and local raw materials in production enhance business agility. Local manufacturing and logistics will ensure greater customer centricity and make a key contribution to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The acquisition of Icon Inks strengthens Marabu’s Asian presence. To ensure high-quality local customer service and support, staff will be distributed across three sites. Eastern China will be advised and assisted by the regional headquarters in Shanghai and South China from Shenzhen. Moreover, the ink manufacturer has a third site in Hong Kong. All three report to Alexandra Taulin, General Manager of Marabu Shanghai.

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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