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A closer look at Lintec’s Mactac acquisition

By Steve Katz, Editor | January 24, 2017

The deal marks the Japanese label materials leader's first foray into the North American market.

In 2015, at the FINAT European Label Forum in Amsterdam, I was introduced for the first time to Lintec, Japan’s leading self-adhesive materials supplier. The company’s product portfolio goes well beyond labelstock, and includes shatter-proof window films, adhesive sheets for outdoor signs, interior finishing mounting sheets, automobile-use adhesive products, semiconductor-related tape, and LCD-related adhesive products. Lintec also develops and markets a diverse range of specialty paper products including color papers for envelopes, as well as release papers and films and casting papers.

Based in Tokyo, Lintec has a wide range of customers throughout Asia, and at the time of our meeting, its leadership told me of its plans to expand its presence in Europe. Nearly 40% of Lintec’s business is from outside of Japan. The company has facilities in 15 countries and regions and about 4,000 employees worldwide. Lintec recently reported its consolidated net sales total of 203,242 million yen (that’s more than $1.7 billion).

During my 2015 meeting with Lintec, Sumio Morimoto, the company’s general manager, Printing & Variable Information Products Operations, Business Administration Division., stated that Lintec – who was on hand at the FINAT meeting to reinforce its European presence – had its sights set on entering the North American label market at some point in the near future. Well apparently that time is now. On December 1, 2016, Lintec completed its acquisition of Mactac Americas, buying the company from Platinum Equity in a transaction valued at approximately $375 million.

Platinum Equity initially acquired Mactac from Bemis Company, Inc. in November 2014. In August 2016, Platinum Equity divested Mactac's European business to Avery Dennison, and now the Americas business is in the hands of Lintec. The company has made good on its promise to enter the West, and the label industry’s eyes are firmly affixed on how Lintec will fare, and what moves may be next.

Lintec is taking on a company that’s on an upward trajectory. Mactac has achieved steady top-line growth, healthy margins and dramatically improved earnings over the past two years. Its adjusted EBITDA grew more than 40% from 2014 to 2015. Established in 1959 and based in Stow, OH, USA, Mactac’s most recent annual net sales are reported as $304 million.

Following the Lintec acquisition, Mactac will maintain its manufacturing bases in the United States and Mexico and continue to develop adhesive papers and films for printing, mainly in North America. It has built a solid position in the US market by developing products using a unique and effective adhesion formula and high-speed coating technology. Mactac also manufactures graphic sheets and various kinds of industrial and medical tapes.

L&NW caught up with Sumio Morimoto since the acquisition, and gained some background information on what led to the deal and the selection of Mactac as Lintec’s means of entering the North American label market. Morimoto says, “Lintec is convinced that full-scale entry into the market for adhesive papers and films for printing and proactive development of its original products using its own technological development capabilities through Mactac will contribute significantly to the acceleration of the global development of Printing and Variable Information Products Operations, the core business of the Group.”

Lintec also plans to link Mactac’s acquisition to business enhancement and expansion not only in the North American market, but also Japan and other regions, by utilizing Mactac’s unique technical capabilities and brand equity and maximizing synergy with Lintec’s technologies. “We will provide customer companies in North America with high-quality products by maximizing synergy effects,” Morimoto adds.

In recent years, Lintec has been strengthening its local manufacturing and sales bases – mainly in Asia where the market continues to grow rapidly – developing sales channels and expanding its brand recognition in Europe by making its first full appearance as an exhibitor at Labelexpo Europe 2015. In November 2016, Lintec Graphic Films Ltd. was created in the United Kingdom, as a partner company in sales, a subsidiary to further strengthen the network in Europe, including Lintec Europe B.V., a sales subsidiary in the Netherlands.

Why Mactac?
When posed with the question "Why Mactac?", Morimoto replies, “With our decision to acquire Mactac, Lintec has added a manufacturer of adhesive papers and films for printing, aiming to quickly build a sales channel that will cover the boundless market in North America that accounts for approximately 30% of the global adhesive label materials market and continues to grow stably at an annual rate of 2 to 3%,” he says. “We are vigorously pushing forward with efforts to improve customer satisfaction by integrating with Mactac.”

The primary reason for choosing Mactac, Morimoto explains, is that it has a long-standing delivery record, strong brand power, and also excellent relations and an impressive sales network with more than 1,000 quality customer companies in the North American market. He adds, “It is also a manufacturer that has already established a firm footing as a peer of Lintec.

“While Lintec has strength in film-based products, the main products of Mactac are paper-based. In addition, Mactac has unique technology for formulating hot-melt adhesives, which Lintec does not have, as well as high-speed coating facilities. Given these features, we believe that future synergies are very promising,” Morimoto says. He concludes, “We will provide customer companies mainly in North America with better quality products and services by developing and proposing new products through the integration of Mactac’s own technologies and Lintec’s material developmentments, while proactively developing Lintec original products in the North American market. We will harness the brand power as well as the sales network of Mactac.”