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Top 100 Manufacturers – paper & wood products

IT HAS been a year of mixed results for the packaging sector, with climate change, changing consumer trends and a tight labour market posing significant challenges for the industry.

The performances of key industry player Amcor, reflected these changes, with increased import competition from Asia and the high Australian dollar also having a significant financial impact on business due to the high proportion of the company’s offshore earnings.

Greg Beatty, the new MD at Amcor Australasia, noted the company has had a mixed year financially with profit down 15.4%, with improved earnings in the non-fibre packaging, drink can and wineglass businesses, offset by lower earnings in the fibre-packaging operations.

“The fibre business experienced a challenging year, undertaking a major restructuring program in an environment of general market softness and rising input costs.

“Amcor has invested $75m to recapitalise and restructure the paper and corrugated box operation as part of a major turnaround plan for the fibre business in Australia,” Beatty told Manufacturers’ Monthly.

Despite lower volumes due to the impact of the drought, the company announced its multiwall sacks business had a solid year.

“The aluminium-can business performed well with improved volumes and earnings compared with the previous year.

Around $33m is being invested in this business to satisfy ongoing market growth as well as enhanced capacity for new can sizes and designs.

Volumes of glass wine bottles increased substantially due to the full year operation of the second furnace.”

Beatty said changes in lifestyle patterns and demographic profile of the Australian community is also having a significant impact on the sector, particularly consumer packaging.

“Smaller households, dual income families, increased focus on health and nutrition and an aging population are all important factors leading to changes in packaging requirements of Amcor’s customers, both brand owners and retailers.

“The move to more private label or house brands by the big supermarket chains is also continuing,” Beatty said.

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