cor·ner·stone [kawr-ner-stohn]

-- something that is essential, indispensable, or basic: The cornerstone of flexible packaging is film.

-- the chief foundation on which something is constructed or developed: The cornerstone of the flexible packaging industry are the converters.

The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.

This year’s Top 25 Converters includes converters that are the cornerstone of the flexible packaging industry. These converters are doing something right. Whether that’s ensuring large amounts of manpower, numerous manufacturing facilities, or making a smart acquisition, one determining factor is key: its people.

Something in the management and procedures of these companies have brought them to this level of success. And that, my fellow flexible packaging friends, is the secret we are all itching to know. According to the Flexible Packaging Association, flexible packaging in the United States is a $26.4 billion industry. Our Top 25 Converters list accounts for over three-fourths of that impressive number.

As the saying goes, competition breeds success. Read on to hear about your competition. You may find some nuggets of wisdom in the next few pages, or you may find some savvy business plans. Either way, I think you’ll be able to take something away from these success stories.

Top 25 Converters Methodology

We used a similar methodology to last year’s Top 25 listing.

To ensure the most accurate listing, we first went down the list of companies to make sure they are flexible packaging converters, and to include converters that have been acquired, merged, or inadvertently left off last year’s list.

After careful consideration, the new list of companies was researched using information from Hoover’s Online database and D&B Million Dollar Directory – Total US database.

Once information from those databases were collected, we went directly to the companies to confirm or correct the information we collected.

Rankings are in order of sales revenue for the 2010 fiscal year, and should only reflect flexible packaging.

We are happy to report that all but two companies graciously offered us the correct information, making this one of the most accurate lists yet.

1. Bemis Company, Inc.

2010 Sales (in millions): $4,840
Neenah, Wisconsin

At the top of the list is Bemis Company, Inc., a name often mentioned in flexible packaging, and for good reason, too. This powerhouse has been expanding its presence for years. After completing its Alcan Packaging Food Americas acquisition in March 2010, Bemis started revamping some of the purchase. 2010’s addition to the Bemis family included enhancing a packaging research facility in , Wisc. The was implemented in the former Alcan Packaging Food Americas technical center. “We're going to be moving the ‘legacy’ R&D Bemis people in there with the Alcan people so we can start to have better exchanges of technology,” quoted Henry Theisen, president and chief executive officer in an interview with local news outlet Post Crescent in August 2010.

Bemis Company, Inc.
(920) 727-4100

2. Sealed Air

2010 Sales (in millions): estimated $4,490
Elmwood Park, New Jersey

This past year brought back nostalgia to Sealed Air Corporation with the celebration of its 50th Anniversary. By the end of the 1950s, inventors Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding introduced Bubble Wrap cushioning and launched the Sealed Air Corporation. Fifty years later, Bubble Wrap brand is one of the most recognized brands across the globe and Sealed Air has grown to employ more than 16,000 people with operations in 51 countries. “Over the past 50 years, Sealed Air and customers have been witness and part to massive change,” said William V. Hickey, president & CEO, Sealed Air in a Feb 2010 press release.

Sealed Air Corporation
(201) 791-7600

3. Sigma Plastics Group

2010 Sales (in millions): $2,350
Lyndhurst, New Jersey

Sigma Plastics Group is a force to be reckoned with. Chairman and CEO Alfred Teo commented on the Sigma’s inclusion in the listing, saying, “We are honored to be on the Top 25 Converters list. We continue to grow through acquisitions, and are in the middle of a possible acquisition right now. More positive news to come.”

Sigma Plastics Group
(201) 933-6000

4. Berry Plastics Corporation

2010 Sales (in millions): $1,700
Evansville, Indiana

Randy Hobson, EVP Commercial Development told Flexible Packaging, “Berry Plastics is proud to be an industry leader in flexible packaging. We are committed to being a full-service, world class packaging and materials supplier partner to the many customers and industries we serve.”

Berry Plastics Corporation
(812) 424-2904

5. Printpack Inc.

2010 Sales (in millions): $1,200
Atlanta, Georgia

Printpack is proud of its five packaging awards it brought home in 2010. Printpack was also busy acquiring the facility, allowing the company to enter into the Medical Packaging Market. The facility manufactures films that are converted into header bags and forming films for sterilizable medical devices. Dennis M. Love, president and CEO, stated in a 2010 press release, “We have been investigating the medical packaging market for quite some time. Timing was right to acquire Amcor’s Marshall facility.

Printpack Inc.
(404) 460-7000

6. AEP Industries

2010 Sales (in millions): $800.57
South Hackensack, New Jersey

AEP Industries’ website touts itself as “The Single Source for Polyethylene Films.” AEP prides itself on offering over 15,000 multi-purpose and flexible packaging films, so that its customers can fulfill its business needs. AEP’s stance: “As a leader in flexible packaging products, AEP uses state-of-the-art, technology to consistently produce the highest quality flexible film available.”

AEP Industries
(800) 999-AEPI

7. Exopack LLC

2010 Sales (in millions): $785.10
Spartanburg, South Carolina

2010 was a busy year at Exopack. An affiliate company of Sun Capital Partners, Inc., Exopack made an agreement with Bemis to purchase two of its facilities, completed in July 2010. One month later, it announced the formation of a Corporate Research and Development team at that site.

Exopack president and Chief Operating Officer, Tom Vale, commented on the Top 25 listing, “Over the past five years, Exopack has invested over $135 million in new technologies and resources, yielding growth in the areas new package development, production capabilities and technological innovation. We take pride in being recognized as a trusted partner in the development and manufacture of flexible packaging solutions that address the evolving needs of our customers while providing positive bottom-line results.”

(864) 596-7116

8. Graphic Packaging International, Inc.

2010 Net Sales (in millions): $675.60
Marietta, Georgia

“2010 was another strong year for Graphic Packaging, where the key to driving productivity and improving margins was to execute a solid strategy that works regardless of the operating environment. We demonstrated that as long as we focus on our strategy, optimize our core business, grow through innovation, and build the right culture, we will deliver results. And in fact, that’s exactly what happened at Graphic Packaging in 2010,” said David W. Scheible, president and CEO, in a shareholders newsletter.

Graphic Packaging International, Inc.
(770) 644-3000

9. Hilex Poly Co. LLC

2010 Sales (in millions): $500.00
Hartsville, South Carolina

In April 2010, Hilex Poly partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to join its WasteWise program. Stan Bikulege, president and CEO of Hilex Poly stated, “As the industry leader in recycling, we are proud of our waste reduction efforts to date and have set an ambitious goal of using 40 percent recycled content in our products by 2015.” The WasteWise program focuses on three key elements of waste reduction – recycling, buying or manufacturing recycled content products and preventing the production of waste in the first place.

HilexPoly Co., Inc.
(843) 857-4800

10. Packaging Dynamics Corp.

2010 Sales (in millions): $498.00
Chicago, Illinois

Like its Top 25 Converters peers, Packaging Dynamics Corp., was busy with an acquisition in 2010, announcing its agreement to purchase Marcal Chicago, LLC. “The acquisition of Marcal Chicago is an exciting step in the development of Packaging Dynamics,” commented Roger Prevot, Packaging Dynamics' CEO in an October 2010 press release. “Marcal Chicago provides a number of strategic benefits to our BagcraftPapercon food packaging business including a broader product line, an expanded customer base and a well respected brand.”

Packaging Dynamics Corp.
(773) 843-8000

11. Hood Packaging Corp.

2010 Sales (in millions): $463.00
Madison, Mississippi and Burlington, Ontario, Canada

In September 2010, Hood Packaging acquired American Synthetics of Goose Creek, South Carolina. The facility specializes in manufacturing woven polypropylene packaging with modern equipment and innovative technology. The new facility positions Hood Packaging to offer a full line of food, pet food, animal nutrition and lawn and garden packaging.

Hood Packaging Corp.
(800) 321-8115

12. Winpak Ltd.

2010 Sales (in millions): $427.50
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

In reaction to being listed as a top converter, Bruce Berry proudly told Flexible Packaging, “It is an honor to be recognized with such a distinguished group of companies.” Winpak’s Flexible Packaging division’s website offers the company’s business model for this market sector: “Winpak has become a leader in the flexible packaging industry by providing customers with innovative products, packaging expertise and operational excellence.”

Winpak Ltd.
(204) 889-1015

13. Bryce Corp.

2010 Sales (in millions): $398.00
Memphis, Tennessee

For Bryce Corp., a family-owned company, 2010 meant planning to expand with a new press and additional employees. In November 2010, the company’s plan for a $9 million expansion was highlighted in the Memphis Business Journal. In the article, Richard Flynt, senior vice president of operations at Bryce, commented that the expansion will help the company meet demand in one of the few parts of the manufacturing industry that hasn’t seen a decline. Food packaging is an estimated $200 billion annual industry, according to Paul Rickman, senior vice president of sales for Bryce. No further comment was offered by Bryce Corp.

Bryce Corp.
(800) 238-7277

14. Sonoco Products Co.

2010 Flexible Sales (in millions): $342.00
Hartsville, South Carolina

Known for innovative easy-open, re-closeable bags and specialty pouches, as well as promotional ink technologies, Sonoco also offers solutions that support smart, sustainable resource use. Harris E. DeLoach, Jr., chairman and CEO told Flexible Packaging, “As a top company for flexible converters, we're committed to growing and diversifying our flexible service offering. Innovations, such as our patented SmartSeal reclosable technology for Nabisco cookies and our recently announced MIRRORINK Process, will continue to help drive our flexibles expansion.”

Sonoco Products Co.
(800) 377-2692

15. Ampac Holdings, LLC

2010 Sales (in millions): $300.00
Cincinnati, Ohio
Ampac’s focus on innovation includes the Vapur anti-bottle, redeveloped to include an antimicrobial; the Sprout Baby Food brand introduction with linear tear and reclosability; and E-Z ZIP has led to significant product growth for Unilever’s Hellmann's brand, among other customers. Ampac has also added box pouch capability to a wide range of innovative pouch formats.
John Baumann, president and CEO, told Flexible Packaging, “Ampac drives transformation and packaging performance by creating package concepts that are more innovative, progressive and dynamic than those used by competitive brands. Ampac’s comprehensive approach to packaging is an effective balance of rigorous, technology-driven thinking and exceptional creativity.”

(800) 527-2557

16. Duro Bag Manufacturing Co.

2010 Sales (in millions): estimated $290.00
Florence, Kentucky
Duro Bag Manufacturing has this Quality Statement on its website: "Every employee at Duro Bag is empowered to effectively manage our company's resources in order to meet or exceed our customer's requirements and expectations in quality and service.” With its impressive position on the Top 25 Converters listing, it seems this statement rings true.

Duro Bag Manufacturing Co.
(800) 879-3876

17. American Packaging Corp.

2010 Sales (in millions): $280.00
Rochester, New York

For over 100 years, American Packaging Corp (APC) has been developing and commercializing unique specifications for a myriad of packaging applications.

Peter B Schottland, president and CEO said to Flexible Packaging, “Interesting to see APC in the Top 25 once again. Hard not to reflect on our journey of almost 110 years as a family business owned by first the Kardon family thru the 1960s and now my family. From the streets of making fish and coffee bags to one of ’s elite flexible packaging companies is quite something to say the least. Our commitment to our customers, employees, suppliers and our industry as a whole has never been stronger.”

American Packaging Corp.
(800) 551-8801

18. Amcor Flexibles

2010 Sales (in millions): $270.00
Mundelein, Illinois

According to Amcor Flexibles’ website business operations, “This Business Group combines the current Amcor Flexibles Food and Flexibles Healthcare businesses with the Alcan Global Pharmaceutical and Food Europe Packaging businesses. The combination of these Flexibles businesses is designed to create an integrated business and to take full advantage of opportunities to deliver outstanding customer solutions to the food, healthcare, home & personal care and industrial markets.”

Amcor Flexibles
(847) 362-9000

19. Prolamina

2010 Sales (in millions): $250.00
Lake Forest, Illinois

A newly formed company, Prolamina is the brainchild of founder/chairman/CEO Harold Bevis. “My business thesis has been to create as big a company as I can,” Bevis told Flexible Packaging. After his tenure with Pliant, Bevis concocted the concept of forming a super company. He’s already acquired two companies at the penning of this article, with a third acquisition underway. Bevis has folded formerly known Jen Coat and Excel Pac into Prolamina. Bevis’ plans: “My game plan is to build a couple billion dollar company by acquiring small converting companies.” Don’t be surprised to see Prolamina’s Top 25 Converter ranking be higher up on the list in 2012.


20. Coating Excellence International LLC (cei)

2010 Sales (in millions): $220.00
Wrightstown, Wisconsin

In a statement released by the company, “Coating Excellence International (cei) has shown strong growth since its inception in 1997 by continual focus on providing the industry’s best quality and service to its customers. Ongoing investment in state-of-the-art converting equipment, new focused manufacturing facilities and next generation technologies enable cei to continue this growth momentum. cei is very pleased to be listed as a Top 25 Converter, as this reflects its commitment to its customers and strong focus on the flexible packaging industry.”

Coating Excellence International
(920) 996-1900

21. Pregis Corp.

2010 Sales (in millions): $165.00
Deerfield, Illinois

Pregis’ exciting 2010 news included naming a new president of global protective packaging. Kevin Baudhuin was named president, global protective packaging, in October 2010. Baudhuin joined Pregis in December 2007 as president of the company’s North American protective packaging business. During his tenure, he has spearheaded development of innovative protective packaging solutions while also bringing significant performance improvement and growth to Pregis, and will continue to do so.

Pregis Corp.
(800) 834-9441

22. Shields Bag & Printing Company

2010 Sales (in millions): $134.00
Yakima, Washington

“During the past few years, the economic downturn has forced us to intensify our product diversification efforts. We are still underway, but to date have been successful in moving away from heavy dependence on traditional heavy duty shipping sacks and more on barrier food packaging and consumer packaging with high resolution graphics. To be recognized as a Top 25 Converter is a testament to the hard work and loyal dedication of our 490 employees. Shields Bag & Printing was founded on intense employee involvement and we continue to grow because of this philosophy,” Chris Daniels VP sales & marketing, told Flexible Packaging.

Shields Bag & Printing Company
(800) 541-8630

23. Scholle Packaging Inc.

2010 Sales (in millions): $120.00
Irvine, California

“Scholle Packaging, the pioneer of Bag-in-Box, is a world leader in bag-in-box packaging for the food, beverage and industrial markets. We are committed to providing locally-manufactured products with unprecedented innovation, quality and customer service. Inspired people, vertically-integrated processes and global manufacturing capabilities allow us to rigorously control our manufacturing standards,” Scholle company information states.

Scholle Packaging Inc.
(949) 955-1750

24. Oracle Flexible Packaging, Inc.

2010 Sales (in millions): $96.50
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Oracle’s company website says, “Oracle is a preferred manufacturer of industry-leading flexible packaging laminates. Innovation, combined with a demonstrated commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, fuels the outstanding customer loyalty and success that Oracle has enjoyed for over eight decades.”

Oracle Flexible Packaging, Inc.
(336) 777-5000

25. Nordenia

2010 Sales (in millions): approx. $80.00
Jackson, Missouri

2010 offered Nordenia some innovation with the launch of its FlexZiBox. Flexible and robust at the same time, easy to carry and well suited for volumes up to 55 pounds – that is Nordenia’s FlexZiBox packaging. Nordenia launched this concept in the to broaden its portfolio.

Nordenia USA, Inc.
(573) 335-4900