However, the economic climate notwithstanding, French plastic and flexible packaging producers managed to maintain jobs and most (62%) said the amount of finished product stored in their inventory during H1 2012 was normal. Business in the first six months of this year was largely driven by exports, Elipso says, which rose by 4% year-on-year – in particular to neighbouring countries. As far as their financial situation is concerned, during the summer, 64% of companies queried by the association said their cash situation was positive and only 30% reported difficulties obtaining financing from banks. However, Elipso says that 63% of companies said it has become harder for them to obtain credit insurance.
One of the biggest problems confronting the sector is fluctuating raw material prices, which last month led Elipso to call on raw materials producers to stop “short term speculative practices and act in favour of an industrial policy built on shared ambitions” with the downstream sector – see Plasteurope.com of 12.09.2012. A similar call was issued by the German packaging producers' association Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen (IK, Bad Homburg; www.kunststoffverpackungen.de) earlier this month – see Plasteurope.com of 09.10.2012.
Looking ahead to 2013, Elipso says the industry remains in a state of uncertainty as 60% of its 130 member companies expect revenues to remain mostly stable.
Some 40,000 people are employed by the French plastics and flexible packaging sector, which boasts about 320 companies that last generated total annual sales of EUR 7 bn.