• Belgian blues

    Belgian blues

    John Penhallow || January 24, 2014
    Mark Twain’s advice for making money was “Buy shares, wait for them to go up, then sell. If they don’t go up, don’t buy them.” Fund managers with the Bencis Capital Partners might possibly be pondering that piece of home…

  • The best of both worlds

    The best of both worlds

    John Penhallow || November 21, 2013
    If you come from the German-speaking part of Italy, you need to acquire the best of both worlds: Italian flair combined with German precision. And if you are combining these successfully while building narrow web digital presses in the town of Brixen…

  • A world without packaging

    A world without packaging

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor || October 14, 2013
    A symposium with this provocative title took place recently in Belgium. Among the speakers was Bruno Ponsard from the Montreal Institut des Emballages et du Génie Alimentaire (non-French-speaking readers should note that Génie has nothi…

  • Could this be a silver lining?

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor || September 13, 2013
    It is starting to happen at last. And it’s not just Angela Merkel, François Hollande and José Manuel Barroso trying to pull Europe up by its bootstraps. No lesser authority than The Economist has just gone on record as announcing:…

  • Record setting

    Record setting

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor || July 17, 2013
    It is a fact not widely known (i.e. your correspondent has just found out) that the feast-day of John the Baptist, on June 24, is also the ‘fête des imprimeurs’. The French city of Strasburg this year used the occasion to celebrate…

  • Forty years on

    Forty years on

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor || May 31, 2013
    There has been much comment in the world’s press to mark the anniversary of the day in 1973 when a packet of chewing gum was adorned with the world’s first bar code. It is hard to imagine a world not only without bar codes and digital…

  • Always look on the bright side…

    Always look on the bright side…

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor || April 10, 2013
    If the future looks bleak for you, take comfort in the fact that it could be worse. You might for example be the organizer of Ipex, which used to be billed (unofficially) as Britain’s answer to Dusseldorf-based Interpack. The German packaging s…

  • Horses for courses

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor || March 13, 2013
    Several years ago, a number of cases of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or “Mad Cow Disease” were diagnosed in England and several other European countries. Beef sales nosedived, and there was an export ban covering all countries where t…

  • Fearing migration

    Fearing migration

    January 23, 2013
    Many European countries, most notably Germany and Britain, seem to have an almost pathological fear of migration. Not the kind that has boat people landing in quiet creeks (though lots of people are afraid of that too), but the migration of nasty che…

  • I like it, I’ll take five

    I like it, I’ll take five

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor || November 29, 2012
    Rako, one of Germany’s top label and packaging converters, is back in the news again. In September of this year they announced that they had bought no less than five of HP Indigo’s latest label press, the WS6600. Roger Gehrke, Rako&rsq…

  • No business like trade show business?

    John Penhallow || October 9, 2012
    Last month’s Narrow Web Europe column reported on European trade shows, several of which are struggling. Prospects for the UK-based Ipex show, coming up in 2014, took a knock when HP announced that it would not take part. Now comes the double-w…

  • Old wine in new packs

    Old wine in new packs

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor || September 1, 2012
    If this column frequently reports on wine labeling it is not because the product interests your correspondent (although it does). Wine labels are very big business in Europe, which produces 20 billion bottles of the stuff (or 60% of total world consu…

  • An East European backwater opens up

    An East European backwater opens up

    John Penhallow || July 10, 2012
    Belarus is not the easiest European country to do business in

  • Label materials business booming

    Label materials business booming

    John Penhallow || May 22, 2012
    Between raw material price hikes and stagnant European demand, not many labelstock manufacturers are making really good money at the moment. Meet the exception: Herma, based in Germany, which has just announced record 2011 sales of €237 million.…

  • Never say no to nano

    Never say no to nano

    John Penhallow || April 19, 2012
    The trouble with nanotechnology is that even some moderately intelligent people like your correspondent don’t really understand it.