This week Plastics News publishes its annual ranking of North American blow molders. Here is a peek behind some of the numbers:
This year we're ranking 130 firms with total combined sales of $17.3 billion. That's down nearly $800 million over the 2014 fiscal year ranking. Why the downturn? Declines in resin pricing. PET bottle resin was down 9 percent, while high density polyethylene and polypropylene resin prices were down 11 percent and 19 percent, respectively.
Productivity and lean manufacturing were at the center of a challenging year for bottle makers . Many publicly traded firms reported changes in volume and product mix, redefinition of divisions, and other strategies to improve profitability.
Once again automotive molders saw increases in sales. Our total sales in the industrial blow molding sector were up 1.7 percent.
But there was more to the 2015 fiscal year than meets the eye.
Some 110 firms told us they have more machines thany they did last year, so that's good news for the equipment industry. Seven acquisitions are reported among the top 50 firms, so that's good news for M&A activity. On the down side, foreign exchange rates were a negative for those firms doing international business.
Some firms found room to grow, here is a list of the top movers in our ranking this year:
Blow Molded Solutions LLC of Mayodan, N.C., moved up 15 places to rank at No. 89.
Poly-Flex Inc. of Walworth, Wis., moved up 13 places to rank at No. 52.
Falcon Plastics Inc. of Brookings, S.D., moved up 11 places to rank at No. 113.
Scepter of Scarborough, Ontario, moved up 8 places to rank at No. 34.
Omico Plastics Inc. of Owensboro, Ky., moved up 6 places to rank at No. 78.
Arch Plastics Packaging LLC of Chattanooga, Tenn., moved up 6 places to rank at No. 67.