The Macfarlane Group, one of the UK’s largest suppliers of packaging for consumer products, has sold two “non-strategic” and loss-making operations in California and Mexico to Specialized Packaging Group (SPG) for US$7.73 million in cash. It will concentrate on developing its core businesses, including PSA labels and resealable products, for which the USA is a target market. The North American plants manufacture foam-based packaging components, mainly for the electronics, healthcare and fresh produce sectors. Based in Hamden, CT, USA, SPG is a leading converter of folding carton converters in the US.
Macfarlane Labels Ltd. has primary label plants in Kilmarnock in Scotland, and in Dublin, Ireland. They mainly serve the food, healthcare, toiletries, pharmaceutical, household products, beverages, and industrial sectors. They also manufacture the patented Re-Sealit products, which offer easy opening and repeatable resealability, while preventing oxygen permeation through the label to maintain optimum shelf life of the product. Macfarlane Group Sweden AB, based in Helsingborg, is more of an R&D facility.
The group’s services range from design to stock management. Production is centered on about a dozen narrow web combination presses, including two eight-color Nilpeter MO-3300 offset presses and several Nilpeter FA-Line UV flexo presses. A nine-color FA-4 with a 16" web width and sleeve/plate technology was recently installed in Kilmarnock.
First half results for the six months ended June 30, 2007 showed a pretax profit from the group’s operations of £500,00 ($1.01 million) compared with a loss of £400,00 ($814,000) for same period in 2006. Sales rose 12 percent from £51.20 million ($101.20 million) to £57.40 million ($116.82 million).
FINAT urges members to become World Class
In a bid to create a benchmark for the PSA industry, FINAT is encouraging its members to adopt World Class Manufacturing (WCM) standards. A pilot project that aims to build a format for its other printing members to follow was recently launched in Amsterdam with a small number of label printers.
Jan Frederik Vink, president, believes the adoption of WCM is vital as the label industry becomes increasingly globalized. Most converters run small- to medium-sized businesses, so he feels they will need the mutual help that a FINAT-inspired scheme can provide. Driving the project is the recently reorganized Label Printing Forum, which aims to bring together its printing and converting members in the spirit of mutual help. Part of its program is to provide a platform for keynote speakers from other industries to explain a wide range of management techniques that could help companies in their search for performance improvement.
“I call it the Weight Watchers’ principal,” says Vink. “Where we bring people in the same situation together so that they can help and encourage each other to find solutions. This is going to be important if the SMEs in our industry are to put themselves in a position to compete with the bigger companies.”