Siegwerk India completes 10 years, announces Ashish Pradhan as new CEO
The India arm of the German ink manufacturer Siegwerk, celebrated its 10 years in India with a gathering of its clients at Hotel The Leela Ambience, Gurgaon, on 4 April and at Hotel Trident, Mumbai, on 6 April.
The company also used the platform to announce the retirement of Siegwerk India’s current chief executive officer Vijay Gupta. Ashish Pradhan, the current chief operating officer of the company, will take charge as the new CEO from 1 May.
It was also an opportunity to reminiscent about the company’s success in India, where the ink major reiterated its position as a dedicated ink supplier for the packaging industry.
In 2005, the company took over the global packaging printing ink division of Swiss manufacturer Sicpa, known for its security ink for banknote printing. Siegwerk India started its operations in 2007, with its plant in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan.
Herbert Forker, CEO, Siegwerk, who negotiated the 50% acquisition of Pibu India to make Sicpa-Pibu a fully functional part of Siegwerk group, said that though it was the biggest acquisition for Siegwerk both in terms of finances and works involved, under the leadership of Vjiay Gupta, the efforts have paid off. “It was difficult to begin with, but after 10 years, I can say that it was a success story,” Forker said.
The family owned ink manufacturer based in Siegwerk, Germany has a long history of 190 years spanning six generations. It started as a printer on textile, before venturing into ink in 1911. Until the new millennium, the company had only export presence in Europe, Africa, and the US.
“When I came onboard in 1999, we had only one subsidiary in the US. We found that export was not enough. We needed to build entities around the world. We started to do that, first in Thailand and then in the US. Then things started to happen very fast,” said Forker.
A lot of consolidation was taking place in the ink industry worldwide, and Siegwerk stepped up to exploit the opportunities. Forker said it was a big challenge for the company, as it was not used to operate at such huge level. After that, however, the company could position itself as a global leader. At the same time, Siegwerkshifted its focus to being a specialist in packaging ink. Now, 90% of its business is in packaging ink.
Currently, Siegwerk has 35 entities worldwide.
During his speech, Forker commended the outgoing CEO Gupta’s work in turning the fortunes of SiegwerkIndia. In 2006, the company took over the plant in Bhiwadi, formerly belonging to Pibu Ink India, with less than 100 employees, and with one of its core businesses, flexible packaging, virtually non-existent. Forker said under the leadership of Gupta, who has been with the company for 17 years, even before the acquisition, SiegwerkIndia continues to growth more than 20% per annum. Forker said it is one of the best performing entities ofSiegwerk worldwide.
“India today, with 7% economic growth, is highly attractive for us,” Forker said, adding that under Gupta’s leadership, Siegwerk India has become one of the fastest growing, and one of the most successful entities of the group.
With one of the best infrastructures among its group companies in its Bhiwadi plant, Siegwerk India today employs more than 450 people, and manufacturers 17,000 MT ink per year, a massive rise from 5,000 tonnes when it started.
Forker said one of the reasons for Siegwerk’s success in India and elsewhere is its dedicated customer focus. Forker argued that since there are no breakthrough innovations in ink industry, customer focus remains the key to success. “We focus on customer excellence, technical guidance and support. We have expertise in food packaging safety matters. We have everything you might need in future,” he said. “We want to be the best packaging ink company in the world. We don’t want to be the biggest; we want to be the best.”
During his speech, Gupta thanked Siegwerk customers for embracing the new company and for helping it grow. “The actual architects of what we are today are our customers,” he said. He also credited the converters for helping Siegwerk build the ink kitchen concept. Delhi’s Kumar Printers was the first to install a Siegwerk ink kitchen on its shopfloor. Today, the company has 80 ink kitchens across India.
Pradhan, the new CEO, with a background in engineering and management, comes with an experience of 24 years. He has previously worked in Huhtamaki, Positive Packaging and Henkel, among others.
The event also saw customers speak about their experience of using Siegwerk inks. Sandeep Bhargava of Delhi-based Kumar Printers and Nikhil Borkar of Goa-based Borkar Packaging spoke on the occasion. Both spoke on how the company has stood true to customer expectations on every occasion.