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US companies dominate folding box market

Thursday, 24 August 2017
By Print 21 Online Article

Hannapak at North Richmond, NSW

US packaging giant WestRock’s purchase of Australian folding box converter HannaPak continues a period of consolidation that sees US manufacturers all but dominate this valuable sector of Australia’s packaging market, according to the latest edition of Pulp & Paper Edge (Edition 144).

WestRock and US-based Graphic Packaging International – which purchased Colorpak in 2016 –  now control an estimated 43% of the Australian cartonboard market. Converter New Anzpac was also sold in the last month, to Hong-Kong based interests.

The latest developments – downstream converting operations changing hands – will consolidate the sector, tightening the local market, says the pulp and paper industry bible.

Over time, supply implications – where the base cartonboard comes from – may well be significant, especially given the new role of major US based cartonboard suppliers.

 Folding Boxes account for around 180,000 tonnes of cartonboard per annum, with imported fully converted product a significant element of the industry.

Cartonboard, the material used to make, for example, cereal boxes, hold six packs of boutique beers, encase pharmaceuticals and high-end products like new phones and tablets, is the latest fibre packaging sector to go through rationalisation and consolidation. The exercise has been underway for at least two years, and it may not be done yet.

Imports of Cartonboard by Main Grade

Imports of cartonboard are stable at 126.7 kt for 2016-17. Pre-converted folding box imports had declined over the last two years, but have recovered a little ground in recent months, even though the average price has risen to record highs. The total market appears to have fallen below the 180 kt estimate of recent years, says Pulp & Paper Edge.

Despite the WestRock/HannaPak deal and 2016’s Graphic Packaging International/Colorpak deal, the sector remains relatively unconsolidated, at least when compared to the corrugated carton sector, dominated by Visy and Orora.

 Coupled with the latest acquisitions, a softening market is expected to result in further sector consolidation, over time.

The August 2017 edition of Pulp & Paper Edge (Edition 144) is now available from the IndustryEdge website at


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