Cold-form film, security foil boost Constantia in pharma
the Pharma/Healthcare division of Austria's Constantia Packaging to
deliver above-average growth in 2006, the company reported.
The Pharma/Healthcare arm, which produces aluminium-based packaging materials for pharmaceutical clients including AstraZeneca, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis, is part of Constantia's Flexible Packaging segment. Total sales across this segment, which also includes a Food and a Beverages & Labels division, rose by 2.8 per cent to €766m last year, generating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €108m, 3 per cent more than in 2005. Gains in Pharma/Healthcare were driven largely by the division's cold-form film, Constantia noted. This is a three-layer laminate of oriented polyamide (OPA), aluminium and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that is used mainly in complex pharmaceutical applications and dosage forms or to package medicines for tropical and sub-tropical climates. Constantia Flexibles "recognised the growing demand for this type of packaging early on, developed the appropriate product range and is now reaping the rewards", it commented. Another strong performer is Constantia's security foil, an aluminium foil with partial silvering. Logos, writing and text can be integrated directly into the foil, "making it practically impossible to counterfeit", the company said. Since the introduction of the security foil in 2005, a number of pharmaceutical multinationals have adopted the technology for tamper-proof packaging. Acquisition boosts firm to second place in pharma flexibles Constantia has consolidated its pharmaceutical packaging interests with the acquisition of Germany's Hueck Folien, a leading manufacturer of high-quality flexible packaging for the pharmaceutical and food industries with production facilities in its home market as well as Belgium, the US and Uruguay. Hueck Folien recorded sales of around €180 million in 2006, up from €160 million in 2005. Constantia acquired 70 per cent of the German company's shares in a transaction that closed on 10 January 2007. It has an option to snap up the remaining 30 per cent interest at a later date. The deal excluded Hueck Folien GmbH in Baumgartenberg, as its products fell outside the core competencies of the Flexible Packaging segment. The acquisition, which "enables us to provide customers in this attractive and rapidly growing market with new technologies and an enhanced product range", secures Constantia Flexibles' position as the world's second-largest manufacturer of flexible packaging in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector, it noted. Hueck Folien has also substantially broadened Constantia Flexibles' regional market coverage, especially in the US. Much of the sales growth for Pharma/Healthcare during 2006 was generated from the division's Natschbach-Loipersbach plant, which has been developed into a pharmaceutical packaging centre with a new coating and laminating machine for clean-room production. The aim is gradually to extend the clean-room concept to the entire supply chain.