Melbourne, Australia-based Amcor Ltd. is closely monitoring consolidation in the global flexible plastic packaging industry and will be watching for acquisition opportunities.
The company could buy European companies seeking to exit the market, but Amcor has no plans to expand its Australian or U.S. flexible packaging businesses, said John Murray, Amcor's general manager for corporate affairs.
"In Europe, the flexible plastic packaging industry is going to rationalize, and Amcor is aiming to participate in that rationalization process," Murray said. He would not say if Amcor had a particular acquisition in mind.
"Amcor is looking for opportunities to expand its flexible packaging operations, and opportunities will eventuate. But it is a matter of whether it will be a strategic fit with the company."
Murray said Amcor's U.S. flexible packaging business was "very small. Of our total worldwide business, it is a small percentage."
After making two acquisitions in the past year, Amcor has no immediate plans to add to its PET businesses. Last year the company purchased CNC Containers Corp., in Tumwater, Wash., and Injepet Embalagens Ltda., a Brazilian PET beverage container manufacturer.
CNC operates four PET manufacturing plants in the western United States and owns 80 percent of PET Products International, which has a plant in Lima, Peru, and plans to build a second plant in Valencia, Venezuela.
"We now have a strong regional position, and as a consequence, there is obviously a lot of work to do to bring them into the business," Murray said.
The CNC purchase was finalized in mid-February.
Russell Jones, Amcor managing director, said Amcor's plans to expand its European flexible packaging businesses came after the division posted good first-half-year financial results, despite a difficult environment of raw material price increases.
Amcor's Australian and New Zealand packaging units, which include plastics, had a strong half. Profit rose to A$49.3 million (US$25.9 million) from A$40.2 million (US$21.1 million) for the same period a year ago.
"The significant increase in earnings was due to improvements in the metals, flexibles and PET divisions, as these three businesses continue to reduce costs and improve operating efficiencies," Jones said.
The North American operations recorded a A$65 million (US$34.2 million) profit and Europe A$23.8 million (US$12.5 million) for the six months to Dec. 31. The company recorded an overall profit of A$246 million (US$129.5 million).