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Higher selling prices drive European flexible packaging industry growth

The rising cost of inks, adhesives and energy being passed on to customers through higher selling prices was the main factor in European flexible packaging production growing by 5.1% in value terms in 2011. This is one of the conclusions from PCI Films Consulting’s latest annual report on the €11.6 billion European converted flexible packaging market.

Paul Gaster, the report’s author, also notes: “Even in these uncertain times, volume growth in European consumption was almost 2% last year, confirming that flexible packaging continues to suffer less than other industries in a downturn”.

However, this overall growth figure covers up some significant regional differences in demand trends – the larger volume markets of Western Europe grew at around 4-6%, while demand in the Spanish and Portuguese markets was broadly static and in Greece flexible packaging values declined again in 2011. Key East European markets Russia and Poland continue to exhibit growth at twice the average for Europe as a whole.

Further industry consolidation was another significant factor which has changed the European supplier base and is noted in PCI’s report. Following Amcor’s acquisition of Alcan’s European flexible packaging operations in 2010 has been the recent acquisition by Mondi of Nordenia International, which sees Mondi emerging as Europe’s third largest player after Amcor and Constantia.

A number of venture capital groups have also been active in reshaping the structure of the industry via a series of acquisitions. This has resulted in Britton Group and Kobusch Packaging appearing in PCI’s European top 20 table of flexible packaging converters for the first time. The table also shows for the first time a converter from Eastern Europe – the fast growing Ukrainian company Ukrplastic.

Now in its 12th edition, PCI The European Flexible Packaging Market to 2016 providing more than 400 pages of historical data and comprehensive market analysis and statistics for 2011, estimates for 2012 and forecasts through to 2016.

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