Efficiency & technology

ALPLA as a regional economic player

Over the past three years, ALPLA has grown in particular in the Asia region comprising China, South East Asia and India as well as in the Africa, Middle East and Turkey (AMET) region. The Americas have recorded a slight dip over the past three years, although growth development was very positive last year in North America in particular. ALPLA succeeded in defending its market position in Central and Eastern Europe. We anticipate strong growth of more than 10 per cent per annum in both the Asia and the AMET region.

In 2018, we formulated a goal of growing by 3 per cent per annum continuously up to 2022. The coronavirus pandemic, various negative debates that worsened the image of plastics even further and a saturated European market meant we were unable to achieve our planned annual growth of 3 per cent in the years 2019 and 2020. Based on the actual figures of the past two years, we are now forecasting average annual growth of slightly above 2 per cent up to 2022. In the Asia and AMET regions, we are now anticipating growth of around 54 per cent by 2022 compared with the reference year 2018 – this is already above the target set.

 

Click here for the full interview

Ï

We will continue to grow globally by 3 per cent per annum up to 2022, meaning our growth by then will total 12.5 per cent. In Asia and the AMET region, we will achieve 45 per cent growth in total compared with the reference year 2018.

‘We are anticipating strong growth in the AMET region in particular, specifically in Africa. The task in hand is to now implement and establish the recycling and waste management solutions which have been in place in Europe for some time in these regions too. Another key task will be that of encouraging those who live in these regions to dispose of plastic correctly too.’

Christoph Hoffmann, Director of Corporate Strategy, Sustainability & Circular Economy
More on this topic

Growth regions

The Africa, Middle East and Turkey (AMET) region is currently one of the largest growth regions. ALPLA has therefore significantly expanded its market presence there in recent years by means of acquisitions and partnerships. Following the 2017 acquisition of the African market leader for PET preforms, PET bottles and caps, Boxmore Packaging, work began in February 2020 on the construction of a new production site in Lanseria, South Africa. This plant will serve as the foundations for long-term growth and our ability to compete in sub-Saharan Africa.

Encouragingly, the topic of sustainability is gaining in importance in this region too, as Christoph Riedlsperger, AMET Regional Director, reports: ‘Something that has been very obvious over the last few months is that the customers’ expectations are increasing in the area of sustainability in particular, after having been overlooked as a topic in this region for a long time. As a company, we obviously see the fact that there has since been a turnaround here as a positive sign.’

Ï
ALPLA Competence Center Shanghai

China is the top growth market for many industries, and that includes the packaging industry. Market activities in this region are characterised by pace and flexibility – the market is highly dynamic and there is stiff competition there. The customers demand short development times in order that they can roll out products quickly. ALPLA nonetheless focuses on sustainable growth, with the expansion of existing customer relations and the acquisition of new local customers being two key factors.

The inauguration of the centre of excellence in Shanghai in March 2016 was therefore an important milestone in the development of ALPLA China. It serves as the region’s technology and training centre. The modern Technical Center offers customers and business partners in northern Asia excellent services, from 3D design and pilot mould production to synthetic resin printing. ALPLA’s quality standards are guaranteed by a quality lab and an internal mould shop. E-commerce and strong demand for luxury cosmetics products are current consumer behaviour trends.

In the area of sustainability, it is worth mentioning that from 2021 we are using PCR materials at all of our plants. This is a pioneering position in China, where there has only been limited permitted use of PCR plastics to date. Official permission to use PCR in China only came at the end of a highly complex 14-month process involving numerous public hearings. In Heifei, we are the first converter to have successfully undergone this process. All the other plants are expected to be granted official permission before the end of 2021. Overall, the environmental requirements in China have increased significantly. We comprehensively meet these more stringent requirements. We are also intensively evaluating partnerships with recycling companies in order that we can continue to meet our customers’ requirements in the area of recycling as best we possibly can in the future too.

The South East Asia (SOEA) region remains on an expansionary course. There are plans to build a second plant in Thailand in the near future. In Vietnam, we are focusing on the Hanoi region in the north. In the Philippines, we are endeavouring to get a greenfield project up and running.

The SOEA region is likewise taking major steps forward in the areas of the circular economy and sustainability. Our first recycling company in Asia will go into production in Rayong, Thailand, in December 2021. From 2022, Envicco will produce 30,000 tonnes of rPET and 15,000 tonnes of rHDPE, thus playing a significant part in reducing carbon emissions in Thailand. Recyclates are increasingly being used at our production facilities in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, meaning thousands of tonnes of post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR) a year are being processed.

In India, ALPLA is setting an example in the area of guaranteeing sustainable growth. For example, it is recruiting not only young people, but, in the interests of diversity, also people with disabilities and the economically disadvantaged. Among other things, ALPLA India is also championing initiatives such as urban forestry and social activities.

Ï

Outlook

In addition to expanding our recycling activities around the world, we plan to invest in modern production technologies and new partnerships. One example of this is the development of a new plant in Lanseria, South Africa, where our production facilities will be consolidated as one main site. This will allow us to implement our globally applicable company standards.

ALPLA has recently acquired various companies in the following countries to expand its product portfolio and continue to grow sustainably:

  • Spain: ALPLA has strengthened its position in the Spanish market with its acquisition of Bopla S.A., which is active in particular in the market segments of cosmetics and personal and household care.
  • India: To continue to grow in this region, ALPLA has acquired a plant in Pune from the packaging specialist Amcor for the manufacture of preforms for PET bottles.
  • Slovakia: ALPLA has stepped up its activities in the research field of alternative, sustainable raw materials for packaging with the acquisition of a significant minority stake in the Slovak company Panara a.s. Panara focuses on the development of wholly bio-based and biodegradable plastics.
  • South Africa: ALPLA’s acquisition of Verigreen Packaging, a specialist in bottles and canisters for lubricants, in Durban is enabling it to enter a market segment in which it has not been active in southern Africa until now. This is also generating synergies for our existing customers as well as opportunities to further diversify the portfolio.
  • Austria: In acquiring all the shares in the packaging manufacturer Wolf Plastics Group based in Kammern, ALPLA intends to use the company’s expertise, in particular in the manufacture of plastic buckets and canisters, to expand its product portfolio. With its three production facilities in Austria, Hungary and Romania, Wolf Plastics is the market leader in its line of business in Central and South-Eastern Europe.
Ï

Composition of the management teams in the growth regions

We examined the origins of the management teams in our growth regions of ASIA and AMET.

We understand local employees to be employees who come from the country in question. International employees are individuals who come from other countries and work locally. Depending on the region, there are also international representatives within the region’s top management team (otherwise known as the regional management team). In the AMET region, these account for approximately 50 per cent of the regional management team. This is because the regional headquarters are based at the global head office in Austria. In the SEA region, around 60 per cent of the regional management team are local employees. Approximately 70 per cent of China’s regional management team is made up of local employees. India’s regional management team is made up entirely of locals.

The ratios are more pronounced at the plant management level. Only in SEA and AMET is a very small proportion of these managers international (9 per cent and 25 per cent respectively), with the remainder of the management workforce being made up of local staff.

This shows that we are endeavouring to develop local roots in our growth markets by primarily recruiting local employees. However, our international set-up makes it necessary from a business perspective for a certain proportion of the regional management teams to be made up of international employees.

Ï