News | New Products

Good News Hunting Is Easier Than It Sounds

Here's the bad news: Amidst continuing mergers and acquisitions, efforts remain stringently in force at many companies to streamline, cut costs, and/or at least maintain last year's profit margins. On the one hand, there are those who have been able to earn their keep as corporate strategists; on the other hand, there are those whose jobs have become strategically “redundant.” It probably goes without saying on which side most would prefer to be.

But here's some good news: According to a study by AWA Alexander Watson Assoc. on the top 100 players in the global packaging market, M&A activity peaked at 434 deals in 2000, valued at $55.5 billion, but is dropping off now (see this issue, pCL3).

Where I'm seeing more activity on the M&A side is among suppliers. One large merger still awaits regulatory approval for Bobst Group SA of Prilly, Switzerland to acquire Valmet Converting of Metso Corp. (Helsinki, Finland) for e90 million. Another acquisition involves Hamburg, Germany-based Kroenert purchasing Bachofen & Meier AG, based in Bülach, Switzerland, from Jagenberg AG in Neuss, Germany. Yet other M&A news involves materials suppliers that convert self-adhesive laminates, including UPM's proposed acquisition of MACtac and Avery Dennison's acquisition of Jackstädt (see this issue, pCL4).

Hmmm. I did say this is good news, didn't I? Well, even better news reveals some converters are expanding capabilities. Kapak Corp., Minneapolis, MN, and PPI Technologies, Sarasota, FL, are partnering informally to facilitate market entry for flexible pouch applications. Chesapeake Corp., Richmond VA, is building a specialty packaging plant in Germany to produce paperboard cartons. Pactiv Corp., Lake Forest, IL, proudly announces the third consecutive year of strong growth with reported earnings per share for the fourth quarter increasing 28% over 2001.

Even suppliers are sharing good news — beyond their M&A activity. Advanced Vision Technology, Hod-Hasharon, Israel, announced revenues for the fourth quarter totaling $3.9 million, a 69% gain over Q4 2001. Northwest Coatings Corp., Oak Creek, WI, is receiving an infusion of capital investment from American Capital Strategies to the tune of $12.5 million, following its sale in November 2002 to Caltius Capital Management. And Bedford, U.K.-based Atlas, of Valmet Converting, happily reports outstanding sales success of primary film slitters in China, where there has been an investment boom over the past two years in plastic film production.

There's no question good news abounds in our industry. You simply must open your eyes and ears. Most recently, the Graphics of the Americas show concluded its annual venue in Miami, FL, late in January with PFFC observing it was well attended.

Now we await the April 2003 Chicago staging of CMM International the undisputed leading trade show targeting the converting industry. Personally, I hope to see you there, particularly at the session I'll be moderating, covering Economic & Marketing Trends in the Global Converting Industry. My expert guest speakers are Corey Reardon of AWA Watson Assoc.; Ken Waghorne of Resource Information Systems; Ken Branch, Stardust Technologies; and Simon King, PCI Films Consulting.

Good news or bad news, we promise to give it to you straight.

For more information on the converting industry beyond this issue's contents, visit We offer content there you cannot find here, and it is updated weekly. Once there, be sure to e-mail your feedback to me, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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