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Beyond The Headlines: Stora Enso announces profit improvement program, Krones acquires Netsal

#Beyond The Headlines: Stora Enso announces profit improvement program, Krones acquires Netsal

stora enso flag
Image credit: Stora Enso.

02 Feb 2024 — This week in industry news, Stora Enso released plans to improve long-term profitability and competitiveness, which could lead to 1,000 job reductions. Meanwhile, Krones expanded its portfolio into injection molding with the acquisition of Netstal and Ineos Styrolution launched a new grade of its Zylar MBS materials in the Asia-Pacific region.

In brief: Business news
Due to persisting market challenges, Stora Enso announced a new profit improvement program to achieve an annualized €80 million (US$87 million) operational EBIT improvement, potentially resulting in around 1,000 job reductions. The program, designed to enhance long-term competitiveness by focusing on core business activities, aligns with the group’s strategy under a decentralized operating model, excluding new production site closures. Most anticipated savings are expected in 2025, with most job reductions planned for the first half of 2024 across all divisions and group functions.

Metsä Board achieved home compostability certification for all its white kraftliners and folding boxboards (excluding PE-coated grades), issued by DIN CERTCO based on NF T 51-800 standards. The paperboards, crafted from fresh wood fibers, are lightweight and produced with primarily fossil-free energy, reducing carbon footprint across the packaging lifecycle. The company says all its paperboards are safe for sensitive end-use applications. Ningbo Milk Group chose SIG MiniGable for its plain milk and lactic acid beverage products.Ningbo Milk Group chose SIG MiniGable for its plain milk and lactic acid beverage products.

The Chinese dairy company Ningbo Milk Group chose SIG MiniGable for its chilled products, strengthening the partnership with SIG and exploring new business opportunities. With 75% of its range in gable-top packs with a 100% SIG share, Ningbo Milk Group targeted the school milk sector, launching chilled dairy products for children in SIG MiniGable cartons. Two products, “Xiaoxiao Yongyou,” plain milk, and “Daily Probiotic,” a lactic acid bacteria beverage, were introduced in 100 mL SIG MiniGable cartons, reaching kindergartens, schools, and home deliveries. The popularity led to the transition of the probiotic yogurt drink to SIG MiniGable 200 mL.

In brief: Mergers and acquisitions
Krones finalized the agreement to acquire 100% of Netstal Maschinen from KraussMaffei, expanding its portfolio into injection molding. Netstal, headquartered in Naefels, Switzerland, specializes in supplying injection molding machines for the beverage, medical, and thin-wall packaging sectors. The acquisition, financed using existing funds and potential debt, aims to enhance Krones’ offerings in PET preforms, caps and medical packaging, facilitating diversification into new markets. The transaction is anticipated to conclude in the first half of 2024, pending antitrust approval.

Novelis inked a contract with Ardagh Metal Packaging, bolstering the supply of aluminum beverage packaging sheets to Ardagh’s North American facilities. This marks Novelis’ third significant agreement in less than seven months within the region’s beverage packaging market, reflecting consumer demand for sustainability. The contract coincides with Novelis’ construction of a new rolling and recycling plant in Bay Minette, Alabama, set to serve North American beverage packaging and automotive markets with an initial capacity of 600,000 tons. Yaza introduced the American market to its premium labneh in Greiner Packaging K3 cups.

Sonoco announced the sale of its Protective Solutions business to Black Diamond Capital Management for approximately US$80 million in cash. The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to conclude in the first half of 2024. The sale aligns with Sonoco’s strategic priorities of focusing on core businesses to achieve greater scale, profitability and market leadership. Sonoco’s Protective Solutions business, known for its molded expanded polypropylene and expanded polystyrene foam components, serves various industrial markets and reported net sales of approximately US$170 million in 2023.

AeroFlexx formed a strategic partnership with Dynapack Asia, a prominent Southeast Asian manufacturer. Together, they aim to provide liquid packaging solutions that align with EPR legislation requirements, enhancing consumer experiences across the ASEAN region. AeroFlexx’s technology, which reduces virgin plastic usage by up to 85% compared to traditional rigid bottles, addresses the region’s need for eco-friendly solutions. This partnership aims to advance sustainability efforts and reduce plastic waste in ASEAN by leveraging Dynapack Asia’s regional presence and strong relationships with multinational corporations (MNC) and regional customers. It offers MNCs opportunities for sustainable global growth across the region’s personal care, household products and industrial markets.

In brief: Launches and releases
Ineos Styrolution launched a new grade of its Zylar MBS materials, Zylar EX350, in the Asia-Pacific region. Tailored for electronics component packaging, EX350 reportedly offers a balanced mix of stiffness and toughness, ideal for carrier tapes. Its extrusion grade facilitates optimal protection and support for components, allowing deeper and more rigid pockets. The new material is also said to minimize transportation and assembly issues, ensuring component stability and smooth peel-off strength. Additionally, the EX350 is versatile and cost-effective.

M&S swapped plastic with recyclable paper packaging for its sandwiches and toasties.Yaza, introducing American consumers to traditional Mediterranean labneh, opted for Greiner Packaging’s K3 cup. The packaging’s form factor enhanced aesthetic appeal and provided functional benefits, ensuring easy handling and portion control for consumers. Additionally, the design created a harmonious and visually pleasing package, enhancing the overall consumer experience for Yaza’s premium labneh. Greiner Packaging’s K3 cardboard-plastic combination, with its cardboard wrap, provided stability, allowing production of cups with thin walls. Using less plastic reduced the CO2 footprint, and the cup and wrap’s easy separation facilitated recyclability. The consistently white or transparent cup ensured high-quality recyclates without ink contamination.

SEE introduced the first bio-based, industrial compostable tray for protein packaging, meeting existing food processing equipment standards. The Cryovac brand tray, USDA-certified with 54% bio-based content derived from renewable wood cellulose, offers an eco-friendly alternative to expanded polystyrene (EPS) trays. Unveiled at the International Product & Processing Expo, January 30 – February 1 in Atlanta, US, the tray matched EPS foam performance, enduring manufacturing, temperature variations and distribution challenges. It is certified by BPI as industrial compostable and by TÜV Austria as soil and marine biodegradable.

Marks & Spencer rolled out new recyclable paper packaging for its sandwich and toastie range across all M&S Cafés in the UK. The FSC-approved cardboard or paper packaging uses 79% less plastic. The packaging, featuring a small window for product visibility, is recyclable with paper waste. This move is expected to eliminate around 4.5 million units of plastic annually.Cascades launched produce baskets made of recycled fibers.

The National Wash Network, an alliance of businesses working toward zero-waste cities across Canada, announced an initiative to establish infrastructure to support reusable food packaging programs nationwide. Unveiling a network of commercial wash facilities and logistics providers spanning Canada’s major metropolitan areas, the initiative empowers local and national foodservice brands to transition from disposable to reusable packaging. The network aims to foster a circular economy through decentralized collection and warewashing via local partnerships. Key features include industry collaboration to develop best practices, logistics expertise for turn-key services and a commitment to affordability and accessibility. Brands like ShareWares, Earthware Reusables, Muuse and Bopaq support the initiative.

Cascades announced the launch of basket designs for the produce sector, offering sustainable alternatives made from 100% recycled fibers. The products align with a circular economy approach and are designed with recognized eco-design principles, utilizing recycled and recyclable corrugated cardboard. The design prevents product handling and maintains fruit and vegetable integrity throughout the logistic chain, featuring a closure system for product security without compromising visibility. Available in two different models and four sizes, from the new ½ dry quart snack size to the 1 L size, the baskets cater to various fruits and vegetables, offering customization options for branding and shelf appeal.

By Radhika Sikaria

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