The UK market for PET bottles is growing. Euromonitor forecasts that the demand PET bottles will grow by 28 per cent annually as they continue to substitute metal beverage cans in carbonates.
Increased consumption of still bottled water, RTD tea and sports drinks, as consumers attempt to adopt healthier habits, will also contribute to the strong performance of PET bottles.
The Petplas acquisition makes Esterform the largest privately owned PET preform and bottle manufacturer in the UK, spokesperson Jane Jacksonsaid today.
The company has a manufacturing plant in Tenbury Wells. Alcan's Leeds plant will give it another, she told FoodProductionDaily.com
"The acquisition is wholly in line with Esterform's targeted growth strategy," said spokesperson Jane Jackson. "It ensures continued investment for its expanded customerbase, and a scale of operation to meet the challenges of the fast moving beverages market."
Four years ago Esterform acquired Able Industries in the UK, which expanded operations at its Tenbury Wells site.
Esterform makes plastic bottles for juice and other beverages. Standard bottle ranges in round, fluted and square formats.
Since 2002 Alcan has been expanding and restructuring its packaging division, which supplies the food, pharmaceuticals, medical, beauty and tobacco markets. Growth has mainly been a result of keyacquisitions, which include Pechiney in 2003, VAW Packaging (FlexPac) in 2002 and Algroup in 2000.
The UK plant was sold as part of Alcan's restructuring of its food and beverage packaging operations. In July customers of Alcan's plastic bottle business in the food sector were put on notice thatthe company had plans to sell its operations as part of the restructuring.
The company plans to concentrate its food business on the more lucrative flexible packaging market. World demand for converted flexible packaging is forecast to grow by about seven per cent to$53.5bn this year according to Freedonia, a market research group.
The unit has plants in North America and France and provides plastic bottles for juice, foodservice, energy drinks, coffee-based beverages, teas and infant formula. The unit also manufactures hot-and cold-fill containers for condiments such as ketchup, pasta sauces, relish, cheese sauces, salsa, fruit, syrups, jams, jellies and salad dressings.
Alcan is a leader in the aluminum and packaging markets. The company has 70,000 employees and operations in 55 countries. The company's packaging business had revenues of $6.1bn in 2004, making upabout 24 per cent of the group's total revenues. Plastic packaging accounts for 59 per cent of the division's business, while aluminum makes up 26 per cent.
Food and beverage packaging currently represents 62 per cent of sales in the packaging division. The group manufactures packaging for dairy products, pet food, fresh and frozen food, beverages,shrink bags for meats, dry food, retorted food and snacks.
In Europe Alcan's packaging business has plants in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.
This week Alcan reported sales and operating revenues of $5.2bn in the second quarter, down $1bn from the year-ago quarter. The drop mainly reflects the impact of the spin-off of the rolledproducts business on 6 January this year.
Operating earnings in the second quarter from continuing operations, excluding foreign currency exchange effects, were $286m, up from $230 million a year-ago.