Applied Market Information Ltd. estimates that the converted flexible packaging industry in Europe consumed nearly 3.6 million metric tons of substrates in 2009 and the business was worth approximately 20 billion euros ($25 billion). The Briston-based research firm said: “This valuation may surprise some observers of the industry as substantially lower figures have more typically been quoted in the past. However, AMI believes this to be an under-estimate and the value of the industry is significantly higher.” In a new analysis of the 50 largest companies in the sector, AMI said the industry involves a wide range of companies and business models due to the complexity of materials and combinations that can be used and the variety of converting processes that can be applied. Although there has traditionally been fragmentation in the industry, a number of major regional and global groups have emerged in Europe to meet the needs of the global brand owners. The reasons behind restructuring and strategic change among the market leaders are rising costs, growing environmental pressures and lower economic growth. AMI said there is an increasing focus on the emerging markets of Eastern Europe and Russia along with moves to shift production to higher value products within Western operations. The major corporate change has been Amcor’s acquisition of Alcan Packaging’s flexible packaging businesses. Alcan and Amcor were already the two largest players in Europe based on sales and the combination of the two has created a global business with sales of over $4 billion employing 14,000, said AMI, which analyses the combined business in its report. Of the 50 companies covered, AMI calculates they accounted for just over 40 percent of the converted flexible packaging market on a volume basis and 50 percent by value.