Valmet Says There Are Positive Signs from Russian Converters

BEDFORD, U.K.—Valmet Converting recently attended two trade exhibitions in Moscow and reports strong interest in various processes from Russian converters. The Interplastika (plastics) and Upakovka (packaging) exhibitions, both organized by Messe D├╝sseldorf, ran concurrently from September 16-19 at the Riverside ExpoCenter, located in central Moscow.

The Valmet stand at Interplastika concentrated on promotion of Atlas & Titan slitter/rewinders and General vacuum metallizers for plastic film. Part of the Italian Pavilion promoted by ICE, the Italian Export development agency, the Valmet Converting stand in Upakovka featured Rotomec gravure and flexo printing presses and coating and laminating lines (manufactured in Italy), as well as Titan slitter/rewinders and General vacuum metallizers for flexible packaging.

"The biggest surprise on both of our stands was the interest in vacuum metallizing," says Kristiina Muurman, area sales manager for Valmet Converting for Russia. "There are no modern metallizing machines working in Russia at the moment, but the interest in our latest technologies is significant. We now have several projects under discussion," Muurman explains.

Promising signs are also emerging from Russian converters wishing to invest in gravure printing presses and several projects are being discussed as a direct result of the Upakovka exhibition.

General response to the shows are positive regarding future prospects for business in the Russian Federation. Economic and political stability has improved considerably since the 1998 crisis. The rouble has been more stable in the last 18-24 months, which has no doubt contributed to fewer difficulties in financial arrangements for investment. There is now a much stronger desire in Russia to develop business for themselves —rather than to just observe inward foreign investment.

"Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, 2001 was the first year when we really saw a positive change to economic development in Russia," Muurman comments. "There is still a long way to go, but at least we are beginning to see the signs of progress."

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