Survivors and casualties emerge

29 September 2009

The amount of corporate changes in the News this month makes interesting reading. While some companies are sadly having to take actions such as declaring insolvency, such as Softal, others are boldly investing in plant and facilities, and bigger companies such as Amcor are on the acquisition trail.

Softal puts its difficulties mainly down to slow payment of bills. Even companies with healthy order books and innovative, efficient products can become victims of cash flow problems these days. And it is disgraceful that slow payment often results in a company being forced to the brink, particularly the small and medium-sized operations. It seems that there is no way to regulate this, and some companies that are in a stronger financial position can push weaker suppliers to the brink by just refusing to pay within the agreed credit terms. These agreements don’t seem to be worth the paper they are written on in some cases.

Meanwhile, take-overs seem to be on the increase, and the pattern of consolidation so often seen during a recession is certainly emerging this time around. While Amcor sets its sights on parts of Alcan Packaging, Thiele has acquired Hudson-Sharp Machinery; Bruckner has sold its interests in the Kiefel extrusion blown film extrusion lines business to Reifenhauser; and Gerhardt International has merged its European production facilities with RR Rotary’s.

Against this backdrop, it is surprising to see, on the other hand, the level of investment some companies are making, the most dramatic of which is Excelsior Technologies’ new £20 million UK packaging plant, which has just commenced operations; and Kocher + Beck is expanding its die making production facility, again in the UK.

And the flexo industry seems to be holding up quite well in the current downturn, as Lesley Hide, MD of the EFTA, reports in our Flexo feature this month. Apparently, compared with the general commercial print sector, there have been very few business failures in the flexo print area.

We are living in a time of great contrasts and high drama. While some companies seem to be riding high, spending money and expanding, others are lamenting the tardy payment practices that, without doubt, have a knock-on effect along the supply chain. If these practices were curbed, I am sure that there would be many more survivors than casualties.

Maureen Byrne, Editor

Maureen Byrne

Privacy Policy
We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.