This year the Skanem group celebrates its century. It began as Stavanger Bliktykkeri, a small Norwegian tin printing firm. Today it is one of the world’s largest independent label producers with 1,100 employees and revenues totaling around €170 million ($205.71 million). Its 14 plants include those in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Germany, Poland, and Russia. Label sectors served range from foods and beverages to household cleaning products and beauty aids.
A defining moment came in 1973 when the original firm gained the exclusive sales rights in Scandinavia for an easy-opening lid developed by a French packaging group. It adopted the name Skanem and built a new factory. Export-based success eventually led to a takeover by an Oslo-based trading group, who in 1985 appointed Ole Rugland as managing director. A year later, aged 30, Rugland invested the equivalent of $7,200 of his own money and persuaded a local bank to lend him another $3.02 million to buy Skanem.
Global expansion is seen as a key growth factor: “The world is really set on globalization and you need to be able to print labels in many different styles and languages for the multinationals who lead the way in brand marketing.” Eastern Europe is seen as an especially strong region as it increasingly adopts Western-style branding of consumer goods, resulting in double-digit growth for self-adhesive labeling. A major landmark occurred when Skanem acquired SE-Labels in 2001. It sold its metal packaging companies in Denmark, closed another in Norway and concentrated on self-adhesive labels.