Bobst to bring its digital label printing solutions to Asia in 2023

India remains an important focus area 

Jean-Pascal Bobst
Jean-Pascal Bobst, CEO of Bobst Group Photo PSA

Swiss packaging machine manufacturing giant Bobst will bring its digital label printing portfolio to Asia next year, Jean-Pascal Bobst, CEO Bobst Group, told Packaging South Asia on the sidelines of the annual press event that was held on 8 June at the Bobst Competence Centre in Mex near Lausaane in Switzerland.

“When it comes to digital label printing technology, at the moment we are focused only on two geographies, North America and Europe. We will enter the Asian market, hopefully, next year, that is 2023. We need to support local technicians and training centers and stock spare parts. So, we need to invest before we get into the market. We will use all the expertise we have accumulated in Europe and North America,” Jean-Pascal Bobst said.

Bobst’s digital label printing solutions comprise Digital Master 340, Digital Master 510, Master DM5, Mouvent LB701-UV, and Mouvent LB702-UV. The company has clubbed inline flexo, UV inkjet and all-in-one technologies under its oneLabel portfolio.

Jean Pascal Bobst, Mex
Bobst CEO Jean Pascal Bobst, addresses the press at its plant in Mex on 8 June 2022 Photo Bobst

Talking about the Indian market when it comes to digital label printing, Bobst said it offers great potential. “The Indian market offers huge potential when we talk of digital label printing. In Pune, we have a very strong base and we can use that to support our customers in the digital label printing segment,” he added.

In answer to our query about the company’s inkjet digital textile printing machines, Bobst informed Packaging South Asia that the group has put the textile printing vertical in pause mode. “As of today, the textile segment is in a pause mode. However, we will continue to service our existing customers,” he said.

Further strengthening the Indian presence

Bobst has been in India for more than two decades with its extensive plant in Pune and has a strong presence in the folding carton, corrugated and flexible packaging and analog label printing industries. The Bobst CEO said the group plans to further solidify its presence in India and will continue to invest in the market.

“We see India as an important pillar in Bobst Group’s strategy globally. We have been at Pune for more than 22 years and the Bobst Group will create even stronger pillars of activity in India to serve the Southeast Asian, Indian, African, and Middle Eastern markets. As a group we need to mitigate the costs which, as we have seen recently, arise from unforeseen events like pandemics and global conflicts,” Bobst said.

The Bobst Group is focusing on working on expanding its market share in the Indian flexible packaging segment as well and aims to be more competitive. “In the flexible packaging side of our business in India, we are aiming to be more competitive and increase our market share. We are currently developing a strategy to expand our presence in this segment of the market,” he said.

Bobst Group remains financially strong

During his presentation at the press event, Bobst said that the group remains financially strong with 2021 sales of Swiss francs 1.563 billion compared to 2020 sales of Swiss francs 1.372 billion. The net profit in 2021 was Swiss francs 99 million, up from 44 million in 2020. Bobst said that the group at present has an 80% higher backlog than at the end of 2020. The net cash position increased to Swiss francs 154 million in 2021 from Swiss francs 4 million in 2020. The Bobst Group will publish its 2022 forecast on 26 July.

“Despite the Covid pandemic we were able to support our clients worldwide; in China, Europe, everywhere,” Bobst said. He said that the group believes that the future will be driven by even more connectivity and proximity, more digitalization and flexibility, more automatization and productivity, and more sustainability and responsibility.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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