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Flexible Kiwis add Australian Packaging

Thursday, 18 June 2015
By Print 21 Online Article

'Closely aligned.' (l to r) GPL MD Greg Chapman with APL directors Dianne Anderson and Ray Cranfield

New Zealand flexible packaging specialist Gravure Packaging (GPL) has bought Sydney-based Australian Packaging (APL) as it continues an ambitious expansion strategy.

“We are going through quite a growth phase here in New Zealand,” said Greg Chapman, MD of Wellington-based GPL. “The acquisition will provide an opportunity to cross-sell on both sides of the Tasman and the complementary product lines will add a real strength to our flexible packaging business.”

Australian Packaging produces flexographic printing, solventless lamination and perforation for the food and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) markets, as well as for 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,” said Chapman. “Their customer base is Australia-wide and stretches into New Caledonia and Fiji, with one of the most recognised brands being Mrs Mac’s.”

APL will continue operating under its current trading name and its two directors, Ray Cranfield and Dianne Anderson, will be retained for at least 12 months to ensure a smooth transition of the business.

“We will be retaining the existing staff in Australia and will mirror what we have recently established here in our managerial structure,” said Chapman. “Peter Barnes will fulfill the role of production manager with Vivienne Tasker being the commercial manager.  My time will be split between the two companies.”

Chapman said the previous owners of APL had wanted to retire and a broker approached him on their behalf. “We were invited ahead of three other parties to enter the due diligence process. I guess our approach was most closely aligned to their hearts. It is what you would call a ‘responsible sale’  – one where they wanted the future of the business to be secured and long-term relationships with employees, customers and suppliers maintained.”

GPL has been eyeing up potential acquisition targets both domestically and abroad for some time. The company, owned by Chapman, Paddy Daly and founder Gunter Amelung, has also revamped its production process, expanded its staff and is planning further capital investment at its Petone plant.

“Australia has suffered the same thing we have in New Zealand whereby a lot of manufacturing is moving offshore,” said Chapman.  “But there is enormous potential growth in the packaging sector on both sides of the Tasman. 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.”



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