Data Cellar: Our very first thermoformers ranking

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Plastics News archives Without peeking, do you know who owns the Mobil and Amoco thermoforming businesses today?

The Feb. 26 issue of Plastics News has the 24th annual thermoformers ranking. I was just down in the cellar digging for some tidbits from PN's very first thermoformers ranking, published before my time, back in February 1995. (Our editor and senior reporters will tell you I'm still new, although I did begin my stewardship of the rankings way back in 1999.)

Lucky for us little has changed since then and we can compare a few details.

Back in 1995, 134 firms were ranked with $2.2 billion in sales for North America. That gives us an average annual sales figure per firm of $16.5 million, with a 75/25 split between packaging and industrial sales. Not surprisingly industrial, electronics and transportation were the top three end markets.

Coming in at No. 1 was Mobil Chemical Co. with $410 million in estimated sales for fiscal year 1993. As it turns out, the Mobil thermoforming business was then acquired by Tenneco Inc. see our article: Tenneco went on to also acquire the No. 2 firm, Amoco Foam Products Co. in 1996, see that article here.

Tenneco Packaging spun off from Tenneco Inc. in November 1999, and eventually became Pactiv Corp. See our article here.

Noted, but not ranked, was Sweetheart Cup Co. Inc., which did appear in the following year's edition. Sweetheart stayed in the ranking until 2004, when it was acquired by Solo Cup Co.

Here is an interesting and not totally unrelated tidbit: we've ranked about 400 different firms over the years and noted 336 name changes. From rebranding to acquisitions, thermoformers have provided a lot of news.

Check out this post from the Plastics Blog, "Behind the rankings data: Thermoformers still growing" to see how the 1995 ranking compares with our most recent.

Finally, here's another vintage Plastics News graphic with some very familiar names. (Our editor, who did the research for the 1995 ranking, thinks this is like finding a 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card in a cigar box. Enjoy!)