Gravure Packaging Buys Australian Packaging

While increased offshoring of manufacturing might be hurting the packaging supply chain, there is still “enormous potential growth in the packaging sector both sides of the Tasman”.

This is the view of Greg Chapman, managing director of New Zealand flexible packaging company Gravure Packaging (GPL), which has taken the leap across the Tasman to expand its business through the acquisition of Australian Packaging. “People will always need to eat, drink and consume products. And consumers are wanting more convenience around their food products -- smaller, individualised portions and very personalised pre-packaged products -- so packaging is going to survive and thrive,” Chapman said. Food and FMCG packaging is the main focus of Australian Packaging's business, making it an attractive prospect to GPL. The company also supplies packaging to domestic and international airlines. “One of their strongest portfolios is pie wrapping and they make a lot of high-quality laminates for what we call ‘rewind packaging’ for the snack food sector. Their customer base is Australia-wide and stretches into New Caledonia and Fiji, with one of the most recognised brands being Mrs Mac’s,” Chapman said.

Complementary technology is also a benefit of combining these two 30-year-old family businesses. Chapman said the flexographic printing, solventless lamination and perforation processes offered by Australian Packaging will provide a positive complement to the gravure expertise of his firm and deliver a proven customer base. The acquisition will provide an opportunity to cross-sell on both sides of the Tasman and it also opens up a new technology for each company.

“The complementary product lines will add a real strength to our overall capabilities,” Chapman said. A large part of GPL's business is shrink sleeve and the company has a partnership with French shrink sleeve specialist Sleever International. Chapman said that GPL is working with Sleever to grow that market and that it might create further opportunities for Australian Packaging.

The Australian enterprise is to continue operating under its current trading name, and the plan is to retain the Australian staff with Chapman splitting his time between the two companies. Directors Dianne Anderson and Ray Cranfield (pictured above) will be reatined for a minimum period of 12 months to ensure a smooth transition. GPL has been looking at potential acquisitions both domestically and abroad for some time, and still has other targets in its sight. The company has also revamped its production process in its Petone (Wellington)-based plant where it is planning further capital investment, driven in part by a new product line that has been developed with a key customer.

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