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PIRA, Brussels 2005  Flexible Packaging 2005
PIRA 5th International Conference
19th-20th October 2005, Brussels Belgium


Film industry structure

The film industry structure went through continuing changes over the last thirty years, and the trend accelerated in the last seven years. This is true both for the raw material film production and for film conversion and multilayer films, although with different trends.

In raw film production, essentially polyolefins, the first entrants, in the 1960-1970s, often were the plastics producers that wanted to move tonnage fast. In the last twenty years, the large plastics producers disinvested their film and other plastics processing activities.

In converted film production, the last twenty five years have been a continuous story of restructurations and acquisitions by the larger groups in the film industry. First, medium and large size film converters bought the many family groups that were created in the 1960s, then, by the end of the 1980s, the larger groups started acquisitions of their peers. This concentration trend is not ended.

The long story of concentration in multi-layer flexible films is continuing, as there still are many small and medium size players, with very innovative vision and ambitions, eyed by the giant companies.

As of 2005, it is roughly estimated that the largest flexible converted film suppliers in Europe/North America may cover about 50 % of the total converted films.

More and more the world largest and most concentrated film suppliers are in packaging. A number of trends can explain the concentration of the flexible film industry to continue, among which:

  • The customer base now pan–European, and fast including Eastern Europe, and Russia
  • Growth of the supermarket retailers of all types, and migration of the supply chain value
  • Increasing scale of the raw materials suppliers to the converting industry
  • Squeeze on operating margins driving to search for the lowest cost effective production

Multimaterial constructions, with polymers and other materials, and all polymers, have developed over the years, and are a large, fast growing, and continuously innovative part of the plastics industry.


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