European Report Covers Flex-Pack Industry in Depth

On a recent trip to the U.K., I had dinner with Paul Gaster, a consultant at PCI Films Consulting Ltd. He showed me a quarterly business report published by PCI titled, “European Flexible Packaging,” that has been available since 1999. The publication, which is somewhat of a cross between a newsletter and a detailed study, is priced at e750 ($825 US) for an annual subscription of four issues.

Covering the entire supply chain of the flexible packaging industry from the resin to the end market, the publication is positioned uniquely for information retrieval. Report No. 17 (Quarter 1 2003) is an example of what “European Flexible Packaging” contains on a regular basis. The report begins with a summary of resins, substrates, and raw materials prices. Tracing the prices of paper, aluminum foil, nylon, BOPP, and PET over the last three quarters, you can find rises and declines in prices easily. Paper, foil, and nylon have remained stable; BOPP, however, has increased.

A full discussion, in easily readable form, is found in subsequent pages. This section explains the tabular data and discusses new developments in the raw material area.

Some of the information goes largely unnoticed in the wider trade press. For example, the report says, “Derprosa Film SL is commissioning a new 2.4-m-wide tpa metallizer at its Spanish plant. The metallizer is designed to produce standard flexible packaging films and output will be targeted at European customers. Currently Derprosa has two BOPP lines of eight KT and twelve KT per annum. It also has a 2.5 KT coating line and a four KT extrusion coating line.”

Another informational gem: “Vibrac Group (Italy) is expanding their North American BOPP operation.” It further states the Vibrac Group is the fourth largest BOPP film supplier and “…the decision on which site gets the first of the two 8-meter lines has yet to be made but a decision on it becoming a 5-layer coextrusion line has been finalized.”

There also is an excellent report on the flexible packaging industry in Israel. Having toured various Israeli flex-pack plants several years ago, I know the data printed is both accurate and up to date. Estimated to be valued at $120 million (US), the industry is characterized by a strong market for sophisticated barrier multilayer laminations and coextrusions. “Like the Turkish flexible packaging industry, some Israeli converters are supplying the rapidly growing Russian flexible packaging market, demand for which currently cannot be fully met by local suppliers.”

Among the top converters are CLP Industries, Ronopol, A. Gellis, and Plastopil Hazorea. “CLP has a significant export business, with the main destinations being the U.K., Germany, Russia, the US, Central Latin America, and South Africa. CLP also has a manufacturing subsidiary in Russia, CLP Plastupak in Moscow.” In addition, there is a discussion of a dozen or so smaller converters. The 3-p. discussion on the Israeli flex-pack industry is the best I've ever seen in the trade press and vibrantly points out that Israel, Turkey, UAE, and Iran are powerhouses of flex-pack activity in the Middle East.

In European flexible packaging news, the report says the top five European converters in 2002 account for 46% of sales. Amcor Flexibles Europe has an estimated 15% of total flex-pack sales. Also discussed is the sales of the Dublin-based group Clondalkin. Not very well known in the US, the group has extensive flex-pack holdings that are summarized in the report. With sales of $300 mm (US), the group is the ninth largest flexible packaging company in Europe.

There's a lot more information in the report including market data and retail business activities.

For subscription information, contact PCI Films Consulting Ltd.; +44-1295-817670; infor@pciflims.com; pcifilms.com.


Stanley Sacharow has been in the flexible packaging industry for more than 35 years. His company, The Packaging Group, is an organizer of targeted conferences and a consultant to the international packaging/converting industry. Contact him at 732/636-0885; univpac@aol.com.


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