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Tense delivery situation for titanium dioxide entails price increase for white printing inks, says Doneck Euroflex

Tense delivery situation for titanium dioxide entails price increase for white printing inks as well as the use of substitute quality products.

We would like to inform you that we are forced to increase our prices for white printing inks as of April 1st 2017 due to the tense situation on the titanium dioxide market.

As you will see from our homepage, the key supplier of titanium dioxide, Huntsman, reported a major fire at its factory in Pori, Finland on January 31st 2017 and declared it as a case of force majeure. The factory has an annual capacity of 130,000 metric tons, which corresponds to about 10 % of the quantity required by the European market.

As titanium dioxide pigments for printing ink applications were primarily manufactured in Pori, we estimate that approximately 40- 50 % of the European requirements for flexographic and gravure inks were covered there. The reasons for this high market share are the high gloss quality and the particularly low abrasion properties of the quality products manufactured there.

According to the information we have so far, the Pori plant will be out of operation at least until the end of the year. As these qualities are not produced at any other Huntsman site, printing ink manufacturers are forced to procure an appropriate quantity of substitute quality products. This poses a great challenge, as European titanium dioxide suppliers have recently considerably reduced their on-hand stocks, and Asian manufacturers also have limited supply capacities due to intensified environmental requirements. The consequence has been a drastic increase in titanium dioxide prices by 30 – 40 % over the last few weeks. 

As the pigment qualities from Pori used by the majority of printing ink manufacturers are no longer available, we must rely on using substitute pigments from Huntsman or other manufacturers as of March 2017.

Although the Doneck network is working at top speed to also ensure the properties of the former pigment qualities with alternative titanium dioxide qualities, our white printing inks may nevertheless have less gloss quality and higher abrasion behaviour. We are currently carefully testing the alternatives in our laboratory to the best of our knowledge and judgement.

If delivery specifications agreed with certain customers should deviate from the former ones, we will inform these customers separately and discuss the further procedure. In any case we recommend that special parameters or product properties not explicitly agreed with our company be carefully checked once again before production printing.