The flexible packaging industry is now well ahead of pre-recession levels and it’s expected that consolidation through mergers and acquisitions (M&As) will continue. While M&As didn’t play quite as big of a role in putting together this list as they did when we put together last year’s Top 25 list, certainly the big headline-getter in 2015 was the merging of Ampac and Prolamina to become ProAmpac – and then ProAmpac’s subsequent acquisition of Coating Excellence International (CEI).
On that note, we present the 2016 Top 25 Converters, which are based off of 2015 sales. Read on to see how this year’s list shakes out, as well as what each company has been up to over the past year.
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2015 sales (in billions): $4.1 / Neenah, Wisconsin
Bemis introduced Form-Tite, a family of shrinkable forming films able to run on a wide range of thermoforming equipment, in June of 2015. The films present the opportunity to automate the packing process, gaining higher throughputs and achieving cost savings. They’re also designed to reduce leaker rates and improve pack security with good seal strength. A high oxygen barrier keeps food products fresher for longer. Bemis also earned a 2016 Flexible Packaging Achievement Award in the Technical Innovation category for its Smithfield Foodservice Package Utilizing its Flow-Tite shrink rollstock film. It also received the Highest Achievement Award for its Campbell’s Soup Ready Meals pouch.
Bemis | (920) 527-7440; www.bemis.com
2. Sealed Air Corporation
2015 sales (in billions): $3* / Charlotte, North Carolina
Sealed Air officially broke ground on its new global headquarters in July 2015, which will be located on Cascade Point Boulevard in the Lake Pointe Corporate Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The new campus will consist of three buildings and house more than 1,200 employees, including leaders from Sealed Air’s three divisions and corporate functions. It also will house the company’s new R&D facility and a customer learning center. The campus is expected to be completed by the end of this year and Sealed Air is leasing corporate office space until then. Sealed Air’s previous headquarters was located in Elmwood Park, New Jersey. “We are so proud to join the Charlotte, North Carolina business community, and bring our company together as one team, in one headquarters location,” says Jerome A. Peribere, Sealed Air CEO.
Sealed Air Corporation | (980) 221-3235; www.sealedair.com
3. Sigma Plastics Group
2015 sales (in billions): $2.45* / Lyndhurst, New Jersey
In May 2015, Sigma Plastics acquired Forest Park, Georgia-based Tara Plastics Corp., a company that specializes in producing LLDPE film for high-speed converting and mono-layer PE. According to a news release, the Tara Plastics Corp. acquisition marks the 25th transaction as part of Sigma’s strategic partnership program since 1990.
Sigma Plastics Group | (201) 507-9100; www.sigmaplasticsgroup.com
4. Berry Plastics Corp.
2015 sales (in billions): $2.35* / Evansville, Indiana
In October, Berry Plastics completed the acquisition of AVINTIV – a developer, producer and marketer of specialty materials used in infection prevention, personal care and high-performance solutions – for a cash purchase of $2.45 billion. “We are extremely excited to complete the acquisition of AVINTIV and to welcome the AVINTIV team to the Berry Plastics organization,” says Jon Rich, chairman and CEO of Berry Plastics. “The combination of Berry Plastics and AVINTIV creates a global leader in plastics packaging and engineered specialty materials. With this acquisition we have expanded our global footprint, added complementary products to our existing product portfolio and will be able to further capitalize on the rapidly growing global markets for hygiene and healthcare products.”
Berry Plastics Corporation | (812) 424-2904; www.berryplastics.com
2015 sales (in billions): $1.98 / Chicago, Illinois
In 2015, Coveris continued to expand its global footprint with acquisitions in Central America (Olefinas) and New Zealand (Elldex). The company’s 69 global manufacturing locations, which span 22 countries, provide its customers easy access to one of the broadest packaging portfolios in the industry. In other news, Coveris also named a new president of Americas Food & Consumer Products in Craig Reese and released its ENVIO film line at Pack Expo in Las Vegas last September.
Coveris | (877) 447-3539; www.coveris.com
2015 sales (in billions): $1.94* / Hartsville, South Carolina
Novolex continued its recent run of acquisitions in 2015 with the purchase of Wisconsin Film & Bag (WF&B), a manufacturer of custom polyethylene (PE) bags and films as well as a leader in sustainable and recycled materials, in October. Previous Novolex acquisitions include Packaging Dynamics (December 2014), Duro Bag (July 2014) and a portion of Clondalkin Group’s North American Flexible Packaging Division (April 2013). “This is important to us because it will further enhance our high-quality packaging choices for customers while advancing our position as the industry leader in sustainability,” notes Stan Bikulege, Novolex chairman and CEO, on the WF&B purchase. “It’s a great fit for Novolex and we will look forward to integrating the team with our successful Novolex custom film and bag brand. Our focus is to continue to invest in our business and supply our customers with world class paper and plastic packaging products.”
Novolex | (800) 845-6051; www.novolex.com
2015 sales (in billions): $1.3 / Atlanta, Georgia
Printpack scored a major innovation with photochromic ink in 2015, specifically with the development of a process that allows it to be hidden within standard graphics, only becoming visible when it is exposed to sunlight. The innovation marked the first time photochromic ink was added to a flexible film, and is intended to offer a more interactive style of packaging to engage consumers. The innovation scored a 2016 FPA Silver Achievement Award in the Technical Innovation category.
Printpack | (404) 460-7000; www.printpack.com
2015 sales (in millions): ~$925* / Cincinnati, Ohio
News of an Ampac, Prolamina merger started making the rounds last August. It was confirmed in September, and “ProAmpac” was announced as the new company name in November. As if the merger of two converting giants wasn’t enough, ProAmpac made waves again in December when it finalized the purchase of Coating Excellence International (CEI) before the end of 2015. “Only a few months following the formation of ProAmpac, we are already experiencing tremendous synergies,” CEO Greg Tucker said at the time of the purchase. “The addition of CEI’s talented employees, machine expertise and capabilities will secure ProAmpac’s market leadership position and strengthen our ability to deliver valuable products and services for our customers.”
ProAmpac | (513) 671-1777; www.proampac.com
9. Winpak Ltd.
2015 sales (in millions): $797 / Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
According to the company website, Winpak Ltd. is a manufacturer and distributor of high-quality packaging materials and related packaging machines. Its products are used primarily for the protection of perishable foods, beverages and in health care applications.
Winpak Ltd. | (204) 889-1015; www.winpak.com
10. Mondi in North America
2015 sales (in millions): $737* / Atlanta, Georgia
It was a year of new packaging introductions for Mondi in 2015. In May 2015, Mondi introduced a new flat bottom bag for the likes of pet food and garden items. About a month later, it released the FlexZiBox bag with a side pour function to the American market. It also custom-engineered a flexible pouch to operate with the SYNEK beer dispensing system and invested to expand its pouch spout insertion capabilities at its Jackson, Missouri facility before the end of 2015.
Mondi in North America | (770) 243-5420; www.mondigroup.com
11. Hood Packaging Corporation
2015 sales (in millions): $600* / Burlington, Ontario, Canada & Madison, Mississippi
Hood saw a handful of its facilities reach Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 3 certification in 2015. Specifically, its Burlington, Ontario, Wilmington, Ohio, Montreal, Quebec, Cornwall, Ontario and, most recently, its Goose Creek, South Carolina plant achieved the distinction, which is recognized as being one of the most rigorous and credible food safety management systems in the marketplace. “We are determined to meet the highest food safety and packaging quality standards that our customers require.” says John Edwards, general manager of Hood Packaging for the Montreal and Cornwall sites.
Hood Packaging Corporation | (905) 637-5611; www.hoodpkg.com
12. Amcor Flexibles
2015 sales (in millions): ~$560* / Mundelein, Illinois
In June of 2015, Amcor Flexibles finalized its acquisition of Zhongshan Tiancai Packaging Company, which brought the converter’s footprint in China up to 10 manufacturing facilities. Ralf K. Wunderlich, president of Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific says, “The acquisition is testament to our commitment to Amcor’s growth in China. As a market leader in flexible packaging in China, it is also an opportunity for us to further build our innovation expertise and product offering for our customers.”
Amcor Flexibles | (847) 362-9000; www.amcor.com
2015 sales (in millions): $400 / Hartsville, South Carolina
Sonoco opened a new $12 million Innovative Packaging Solutions (iPS) studio at its Hartsville, South Carolina headquarters last October. The studio is designed to be a research, development and innovation center that connects consumer and market insights to the invention of new packaging solutions. Key features of the iPS studio include a consumer interaction space, collaborative spaces where experts can interact with the latest technologies to turn ideas into packaging concepts, technology for the development of structural design and manufacturing options that access potential for commercialization, a pilot plant to test manufacturing performance, state-of-the-art printing capability and rapid prototyping labs that aid in developing engineered prototypes, among others.
Sonoco | (800) 377-2692; www.sonoco.com
14. American Packaging Corporation
2015 sales (in millions): $397 / Rochester, New York
American Packaging Corporation continued growing its business and maintained its strong financial position. In 2015, the company completed the installation of a new flexographic press and quickly broke ground on a $44-million expansion project. The company received numerous awards for superior printing, exemplary human resources practices and sustainability achievements including attaining zero landfill status at a second location.
American Packaging Corporation | (800) 551-8801; www.ampkcorp.com
15. Bryce Corporation
2015 sales (in millions): 375* / Memphis, Tennessee
According to the company website, Bryce develops innovative products and is continuously improving its processes to achieve competitive advantages in quality, productivity, cost, and profit targets for sustained growth. Bryce Corporation strives for innovation in flexible packaging and continues to expand its capabilities to remain a leader in its industry. It continually reinvests in the development of its people and its processes, bringing state-of-the-art equipment and proven best practices to its organization.
Bryce Corporation | (800) 238-7277; www.brycecorporation.com
16. Pregis LLC
2015 sales (in millions): $352 / Deerfield, Illinois
In addition to implementing educational initiatives for packaging professionals, Pregis introduced a pair of cushioning performance films in 2015 – films specifically intended for products that require longer shipping or storage cycles. The films, HC Performance and HC Performance Plus, permit air to be contained within the cells for extended periods of time and provide superior protection for products that require longer storage and shipping cycles. “With international shipping on the rise, packages are going to be subject to extensive handling through the supply chain,” says Tom Wetsch, chief innovation officer. “We developed these new films to address those more rigorous shipping requirements.”
Pregis LLC | (877) 692-6163; www.pregis.com
17. Scholle IPN
2015 sales (in millions): $285 / Northlake, Illinois
Scholle IPN has seen rapid growth in its pre-made spouted pouch product, CleanPouch. The CleanPouch line (including a rotary filler) is ideal for products like applesauce and other fruit-based, pureed foods. Scholle has also recently placed several of its aseptic-capable SureFill bag-in-box fillers across various market segments, such as dairy food and beverages.
Scholle IPN | (708) 562-7290; www.scholleipn.com
18. InterFlex Group
2015 sales (in millions): $200 / Wilkesboro, North Carolina
InterFlex completed a capital investment plan in 2015 that included the purchase of two new 10-color wide web flexographic presses and three new lamination lines that are capable of running solvent, solventless and aqueous adhesives, a variety of decorative coatings such as registered matte over-print varnish, high barrier and other functional coatings and multi-plex structures. Investments in additional new pouch and slitting equipment were also made. It also completed a multi-million dollar expansion to its Wilkesboro, North Carolina printing facility and built a new 80,000 square foot converting and warehouse facility nearby to integrate Star Packaging’s operations, which InterFlex acquired in 2014.
InterFlex Group | (336) 921-3505; www.interflexgroup.com
19. Oracle Packaging, Inc.
2015 sales (in millions): $199 / Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Oracle Packaging’s 2015 was defined by the capital expansions that took place at its Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Louisville, Kentucky facilities that added capacity in both extrusion coating and adhesive laminating. This additional capacity and capability will directly benefit Oracle customers through lower cost material and better operating parameters, according to the company.
Oracle Packaging, Inc. | (336) 777-5000; www.oraclepackaging.com
2015 sales (in millions): $180 / Richmond, Virginia
Liqui-Box was officially acquired by private equity firm Olympus Partners last October. The converter also appointed a new vice president of sales for North America, David Klopp, in 2015. Additionally, Liqui-Box’s work was rewarded, as it earned a 2016 FPA Flexible Packaging Achievement Silver Award for its Sure Seal line of dairy pouch films in the Technical Innovation category.
Liqui-Box | (877) 267-5949; www.liquibox.com
21. Shields Bag & Printing Company
2015 sales (in millions): $180* / Yakima, Washington
With strong recent growth, Shields Bag & Printing Company has added substantial capacity in co-ex and barrier film lines as well as added flex and conversion capacity. Shields continues to grow in the banking and security bag industry with added capacity there as well. The company’s recent focus on food safety has led it to get independent certification in the form of FSSC 22000, which uses ISO 22000 and ISO 22003 schemes, and is fully recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and accreditation bodies around the world.
Shields Bag & Printing Company | (800) 541-8630; www.shieldsbag.com
22. Oliver-Tolas Healthcare Packaging
2015 sales (in millions): $125* / Grand Rapids, Michigan
In Q3 of 2015, Oliver-Tolas received an additional high-speed coating line at its Hamilton, Ohio facility and developed a robust validation plan to provide customers ample time to evaluate products produced on the new line. “Producing high-quality heat-seal coated products for the healthcare market is extremely demanding. Our customers deliver life-saving products and we share a responsibility to ensure patient safety with safe and effective packaging materials,” says Russell Douglas, global VP of operations. “The new equipment will provide additional capacity and redundancy in our operation. This is one of many proactive steps we take to insulate our customers from the risk of supply interruptions.”
Oliver-Tolas Healthcare Packaging | (877) 283-3431; www.oliver-tolas.com
23. St. Johns Packaging
2015 sales (in millions): $115* / Quebec, Canada
St. Johns Packaging has emerged as a leader in flexible packaging and is well positioned to take advantage of further opportunities in the North American market. However, while St. Johns has continued to grow and prosper, it was met with some bittersweet news in 2015 when its former president, Jacques Leclair, passed away in May. According to Leclair’s obituary in the Montreal Gazette, he remained involved in guiding and supporting the management team at the company until his passing.
St. Johns Packaging | (800) 567-8773; www.sjpack.com
24. Clear Lam Packaging, Inc.
2015 sales (in millions): $110 / Elk Grove Village, Illinois
In addition to settling a legal dispute with Frito Lay, Clear Lam released a new line of packaging films at the IDDBA Dairy-Deli-Bake show. It also entered into a licensing agreement with Triangle Packaging Machinery Co. for its PrimaPak system. The Clear Lam PrimaPak System is a flexible, stackable, reclosable package designed to replace rigid cans, bottles, jars and trays. The packaging retains its shape even when empty, giving it superior merchandising compared to standup pouches and similar packaging that may fall over.
Clear Lam Packaging, Inc. | (847) 439-8570; www.clearlam.com
25. C-P Flexible Packaging
2015 sales (in millions): $110* / Winston-Salem, North Carolina
In May 2015, C-P Flexible Packaging’s facility in York, Pennsylvania successfully completed recertification for SQF Level II certification. The company has maintained this certification since July of 2013, which helps ensure its customers that its products are safe and in compliance with regulatory requirements and industry codes of practice.
C-P Flexible Packaging | 800-815-0667; www.cpflexpack.com