Narrow Web Europe


  • No business like trade show business?

    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…
    John Penhallow 10.09.12

  • Old wine in new packs

    Old wine in new packs

    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…
    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor 09.01.12

  • An East European backwater opens up

    An East European backwater opens up

    Belarus is not the easiest European country to do business in
    John Penhallow 07.10.12

  • Label materials business booming

    Label materials business booming

    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.…
    John Penhallow 05.22.12

  • Never say no to nano

    Never say no to nano

    The trouble with nanotechnology is that even some moderately intelligent people like your correspondent don’t really understand it.
    John Penhallow 04.19.12

  • Fire sale in Germany, Renaissance in Italy

    The Manroland saga continues to make headlines in the European press. The German press manufacturer, until recently a world leader, filed for bankruptcy in late 2011. Its three production plants, all in Germany, have been offered for sale separately,…
    John Penhallow 03.08.12

  • ‘Man’ the lifeboats

    ‘Man’ the lifeboats

    “Too big to fail” was what they said about Heidelberg, when Europe’s biggest print machinery manufacturer ran out of cash in 2009. The German government, and the banks, duly dipped into their pockets and the patient recovered (and p…
    John Penhallow 01.18.12

  • Anyone for for granite?

    The strength of the alpine franc poses challenges for Swiss manufacturers.
    10.04.11

  • Beers all round

    Malt beverage growth in Russia, plus reports of label industry movement in Turkey, Egypt and France.
    09.08.11

  • Pulp fiction

    Paper manufacturers might not be making a killing after all. Some are pointing to China’s demand as a top reason for price hikes. It is no news to anyone in the label business that raw material prices are rising. So paper manufacturers must b…
    07.12.11

  • China looks West for investment

    The time is fast coming when we will all have to learn a little more about the geography of China. Most of us could probably locate Hong Kong and Beijing, give or take a few hundred miles, but what about Jiaxing in Zheijiang province? Do I see any ha…
    05.24.11

  • Finnish Phoenix

    Metsäliito is not a name that trips easily off the tongue when label people congregate, or even when they don’t. However, this Finnish lumber-to-paper group, via its subsidiary M-real Zanders, has just launched several brand new series of…
    04.11.11

  • Label events proliferate

    As reported in last issue’s Narrow Web Europe news, European trade shows in general, and the November packaging show Emballage in particular, are still plagued by falling attendances. This ambient depression does not seem to be affecting prepar…
    03.11.11

  • JPL: A survival tale

    Few people outside France have heard of the JPL Group. By all the laws of economics it should have gone bankrupt. This family-owned label converter played double or quits on a series of acquisitions over the years from 2002 to 2008. When the crisis h…
    01.18.11

  • New liners for old

    In an age when almost every type of paper-based product is being recycled in a cradle-to-cradle process, release liner stands out as a black spot on a green horizon. Nobody loves spent liner, and end users have to pay good money to have it taken away…
    11.11.10

  • Monroe Doctrine

    The acquisition of Monroe Etiquette by US-based Multi-Color Corporation (MCC), reported in the e-news version of L&NW and in the Industry News in this issue, could be a taste of things to come. With the notable exception of CCL, few British or No…
    10.11.10

  • Spreading waste-lines, and British bolshiness

    Spent liner… landfill… sustainability… impossible to open a label or packaging-related magazine these days without being bombarded with articles telling us to do something about waste. The problem is not the same for industrialis…
    08.27.10

  • The digital band wagon

    Few people would quarrel with the word exponential to describe the rise in the number of manufacturers offering narrow web digital presses. At the Labelexpo show in Brussels in 2003 there were just three companies making them. By last year there were…
    07.14.10

  • Food for thought

    This month’s letter from Europe starts with a short dissertation on British food. Readers who have lived or worked in Britain can skip the next paragraph. There have been huge advances in British food since the days of over-boiled vegetables a…
    05.07.10

  • Manufacturing is still moving east

    Despite the protectionist rodomontades of some of Europe’s leading politicians, manufacturing industries continue to move out of the high-cost Western European theatre. Much of the benefit is going to the countries on the eastern fringe of the…
    03.30.10