Report calls 2018 a “watershed year” for flexible packaging M&A activity

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Amcor deal to shape the industry for many years to come.

The year 2018 was a watershed year for mergers and acquisitions in the global flexible packaging sector, according to Wood Mackenzie Chemicals' 'Global Flexible Packaging Market Overview' report.

According to the London-based consulting firm, last year stands out in the “significance” of transactions carried out in the year, which includes Amcor's €5.9bn all-stock acquisition of the US-based converter Bemis, announced in August. In addition, both Europe and North America saw acquisitions of regional significance in the purchases made by Schur Flexibles and Transcontinental Inc., respectively.

However, specifically the Amcor deal, said the report, “will shape the industry for many years to come.”

“Amcor's transformational acquisition of the US-based Bemis will create a global leader in consumer packaging, with by far the broadest product offering and global footprint, unmatched by any other supplier,” said Wood Mackenzie chemicals research analyst, Robert Gilfillan. 

Wood Mackenzie Chemicals estimates the combined group will account for approximately 10% of the global converted flexible packaging market.

Canada's Transcontinental Inc. made its biggest move yet in extending its presence in the packaging industry with the acquisition of Coveris' Americas business, propelling the company into the top ten players in the North American market, Gilfillan added.

According to the Wood Mackenzie research, China now accounts for approximately 15% of the $90bn (€80bn) global flexible packaging market. However, the effects of the reported slowdown in the Chinese economy, coupled with the uncertainty surrounding US-China trade tariffs, are likely to make themselves felt over the coming year. 

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