This week Plastics News publishes its annual ranking of North American film and sheet manufacturers. We have our top 100 in print and the rest of the list online. Here is how the numbers fell.
There are 170 firms ranked this year with sales of $36.7 billion, up 1 percent from 2018. For 2019, 81.6 percent were from film sales and 18.4 percent were from sheet.
The average sales per company was $215.7 million, that's an increase of 2.5 percent.
For those self-reporting gains, the average increase was 13 percent.
That takes care of the numbers part, now comes the trivia for our 30th anniversary celebration.
In April 1991, our very first extrusion ranking, Carlisle Plastics Inc. of Boston hit No. 2 with combined film and sheet sales of $300 million.
Top sheet extruder in 1991: Primex Plastics Corp. of Garfield, N.J., with sales at $123 million.
Top sheet extruder in 2019: Inteplast Group of Livingston, N.J., with estimated related sales of $961.1 million.
Top film company in 1991: Armin Corp. of Jersey City, N.J., at $250 million.
In 2019: Berry Global Inc. of Evansville, Ind., with related sales of $2.9 billion.
My first film and sheet ranking was in 1999, and for the first few years this seemed like the hardest ranking to compile. Large-volume commodity products meant that competition was king and resin pricing pass though played a major role.
Mergers and acquisitions would factor heavily in every update too. Even compared to our largest ranking — injection molders — this listing has had more than double the number of footnotes outlining major changes.
Then suddenly it seemed like this ranking had the most resources and today it "ranks" as my favorite to research. Of course, research isn't without its pitfalls. Recently I came across an annual report citing the closing of an unnamed plant in North Carolina. Wanting to rule out a ranked location, I called the facility. I started with an easy question, "is this a plastic facility," they let out a yelp and hung up on me. It is kind of hard to interpret that response.
The biggest news for the current ranking is the acquisition of Bemis Co. Inc. by Amcor Ltd. Tekni-Plex Inc. bought 3 facilities, which helped the deal pass.