The leading players in PE film extrusion are continuing to grow and expand at the expense of smaller companies, according to research from Applied Market Information (AMI). The report found that the top 50 companies increased their production of PE film by a third over the past three years, compared with a 10 per cent increase for PE film overall. As a result their share of the market has grown from 55 per cent in 2000 to 60 per cent for 2003.
This increase has often been achieved through acquisition but there have also been some substantial investments. British Polythene Industries still tops the league of Europe’s leading producers but whereas a decade ago it was more than twice the size of its nearest rivals, nowadays it is only 12 per cent ahead of the next largest producer, Rheinische Kunststoffwerke (RKW).
BPI saw its profits suffer through the combined effects of the strength of the pound, fluctuating raw material costs and the high level of imports into the UK. Other companies that have seen their status increase in recent years are primarily based in France or Italy. Stretch film producers, Manuli and Plastotecnica have both increased capacity substantially in the past three years, while Barbier in France has also seen strong growth.

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