Not so gloomy

13 August 2008

Reading through this issue of Converting Today, I noticed numerous industry surveys. While most paint an extremely gloomy picture, some tend to tell a different story.

A study from Ceresana Research predicts that polypropylene revenues will “more than double” by 2016, due to higher prices and greater sales volumes.

But it’s a bleak future for the paper and board industry, according to the recent Plimsoll survey. The report estimates a loss of about 6,000 jobs over the next 12 months in the UK in this sector. Another research from the same agency warns that “zero growth, sliding profits and escalating debts have pushed a third of the companies in the UK packaging industry to the brink of failure”.

It’s not just these recent reports that suggest a gloomy future for the packaging industry – I have heard similar doom and gloom predictions at a number of conferences that I have recently attended.

The difficult market situation is reflected in the recent cost-cutting measures announced by Heidelberg. The press manufacturing giant plans to consolidate some of its production capacities and restructure R&D activities.

However, one cannot ignore the fact that suppliers to the packaging industry are also continuously making technological advances in a hope to beat the credit crunch. This is evident from the forthcoming Labelexpo Americas, which kicks off in Chicago in less than a month. Numerous product developments are to be introduced at the show as highlighted in our preview.

The view that suppliers to the packaging industry are continuing to push the technology envelope is reinforced by Lesley Hide, MD, European Flexographic Trade Association. Speaking positively, Lesley indicates that the overall European market for flexo printed products is growing rapidly, probably in excess of 10 per cent per year.

I, for one, don’t dispute the warnings and concerns put forth by various research agencies, but I do not think it’s an end or a beginning to the end. We will continue to see consolidations and acquisitions, but we will also continue to see innovations – and that will hopefully stimulate the imagination of our industry.

Sonali Advani
Editorial Manager

Sonali Advani

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