“Over 55 percent of companies in this £500 million ($949 million) market are actively pursuing or currently considering a merger, acquisition or disposal strategy,” says Marcus Clifford, managing director of McInnes Corporate, which conducted the survey. “Most are looking for businesses to complement or supplement their own within the labels and packaging sector in the UK although a small proportion is looking overseas to the continent.” He noted that 57 percent of companies were reviewing their plans and devoting more management time to strategic issues. More than half of respondents were optimistic or very optimistic about their own businesses, but 20 percent were pessimistic. Only 12 percent were optimistic about the label sector as a whole.
The BPIF supplemented the McInnes Corporate survey with sector-specific data from its Printing for Profit survey report. This confirmed that while overall the label sector performed below the national average for the printing industry, some extremely wide variations in performance exist. Over the past 10 years, larger companies have been growing faster than smaller companies (4.2 percent compared with 0.1 percent), whereas on average smaller companies are more profitable (9 percent versus 5 percent).
“Clearly there is an opportunity for companies to use consolidation effectively to boost company performance and shareholder returns in this sector, however it must be underpinned by a clear and robust strategic plan whether it be for growth, differentiation or a new business model,” Clifford adds. His company intends to develop this survey across other graphic sectors, including packaging, screen and digital, finishing and binding, backed by annual updates on structural and strategic changes.