Newly restructured Macfarlane Group plc is on the acquisition trail again. The Glasgow, Scotland-based packaging company has been transformed from an old established family firm with 13 separate companies to a group of four divisions. The company now is prepared to spend at least 50 million ($79 million) on the right opportunities, according to Chief Executive Officer Iain Duffin.
In September the company took its first step across the Atlantic with the purchase of family-run Western Foam Packaging Products of Hayward, Calif. At the time, Macfarlane revealed this was the first stage of a series of foreign acquisitions.
The firm reiterated that plan in March, when it announced financial results for 1999.
"There is no doubt that proximity to customers who relocate overseas will be a requirement in the medium term. Any such acquisitions will be financed from our existing borrowing facilities," said Chairman John Ward.
Even so, plastics operations have been hit by rising polymer prices and overcapacity and profit has suffered in the early part of this year. But the firm is confident raw material prices will fall back and the division will "recover strongly," Ward said.
The Packaging Division, which includes the U.S. acquisition, has benefited from a trend among bigger United Kingdom companies to outsource packaging needs.
"Our medium-term aim is to concentrate on value-added products and services, building on the acquisition program seen in 1999," Ward said.
Macfarlane reported its 1999 profit was down by 6 percent at 14 million ($22 million) before restructuring costs of nearly 5 million pounds ($8 million). Sales were up 2.2 percent at 196 million ($309 million).