While the international label association FINAT was holding its annual congress in Paris in June 2008, several other European label associations were also meeting in their respective countries. The French association UNFEA, co-hosting the FINAT event, presented the country’s label business through its chairman, Dominique Durant des Aulnois, who brandished baguettes, berets and bottles of wine to get his points across. With some 350 label converters and total annual sales of around $1.5 billion, the French label market is in pretty good shape, he told delegates. However, while volume sales continue to grow, average prices per square meter are declining slightly, and the structure of the industry is changing.
A study done by French label magazine Etiq & Pack has shown that while most French label converters remain small (60 percent of them employ fewer than 25 people), the big ones are getting bigger, mainly by acquisition. Belgium-based Bopack Group now holds around 11 percent of the total French pressure sensitive label market, with CCL and Stratus lying in second and third places with a 6 percent share each.
Meanwhile, over the Pyrenees (and a bit out to sea) the Spanish Label Association, ANFEC, was meeting in Palma de Majorca for its 10th annual conference. The association has 150 label converter members, according to its president, José Luis Mercé. The Spanish label sector employs over 5,000 and, like France’s, has total sales of some $1.5 billion.
At the same dates and in a town of similar name, the Italian label association met in Parma. Its president, Alberto Ghiotto, summarized the activities of the association under the headings Environment, Food Labeling and Communication/Marketing. Of the 107 companies currently members of GIPEA, 81 are label converters and 26 are “simpatizzanti.” Several papers presented at the meeting were on the problems of waste treatment.
The congress of the German label Association VskE, in Dresden, saw the association’s president, Helmut Schreiner, hand over day-to-day running of this very active association to journalist Klemens Ehrlitzer. As always, the speakers at this annual event took their duties very seriously, as did the 240 delegates present. The presentation by Klaus Sedlmayr of Chromos on comparative technico-economic merits of offset and flexo for narrow web applications was particularly informative and well-documented.