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Exclusive interview with Patrick Doran, CEO, The Americk Group

‘Americk Packaging to turn heads in 2014’

By Jenny Eagle+

10-Jan-2014
Last updated on 10-Jan-2014 at 11:39 GMT

Patrick Doran, CEO, The Americk Group
Patrick Doran, CEO, The Americk Group

The Americk Group acquired Systems Labelling in September and plans to double turnover in the next three years.

The company’s Flexibles division operates under the brands of Primopost and ASP Flexibles whilst its carton division is based in Dublin and trades under the Marchmont Packaging brand and Webtech and Systems Labelling falls under the Labels division.

FoodProductionDaily speaks to Patrick Doran, CEO, The Americk Group, to find out what’s in store for 2014.

‘FPD: When did you join The Americk Group?

Doran: I joined Marchmont Packaging, a carton print business straight from college in 1986. It’s one of five Americk Packaging companies and the first I managed. It was initially a family business which steadily gained market share in the cartons sector through building long lasting relationships with both Irish and UK based brand leaders. Healthcare has been added to the strong food portfolio following investment in foil embossing and numerous other high quality finishing options to achieve stand-out.

FPD: What is Americk’s key focus in 2014?
Doran: To drive through the combined benefits of Americk Packaging to our customers and the market at large. Although Americk is a new brand the combined knowledge and experience of our five companies is unrivalled in the packaging industry and adds up to nearly 150 years of expertise. Collectively Americk Packaging is set to turn many heads in 2014.

FPD: Tell me about the five companies.
Doran: Marchmont Packaging operates primarily in the food and healthcare markets and supplies printed cartons from concept to finished product to all major UK supermarkets and brands.

ASP Flexibles specialise in flexible packaging maximising product performance in terms of shelf life extension and the reduction of food waste. Focusing on fresh, perishable produce ASP boasts an in-house laboratory and packaging scientists who work closely with produce growers and packers.

Primopost is an award winning supplier of printed flexible packaging for the food and non-food industries using HD Flexo technology colour management systems.

Americk recently invested £4.5m to install an eight colour W&H Press and expand its facility. Primopost’s continued growth stems from the seamless transition from Gravure to HD Flexo.

Webtech supplies Flexographic Reel-Fed labels in the UK and Ireland. It produces labels for the biggest names in the soft drinks market and the next step is to build on our exports.

This division recently opened an office in Algeria in addition to activities across western Europe adding to its portfolio of labels for carbonated soft drinks, still and sparkling waters, mixers, sport drinks, energy drinks, dilute to tastes and edible oils such as olive oil and sunflower oil.

Systems Labelling is a self-adhesive label manufacturer with over 60% of the liquid dairy market. Recent growth has resulted from product diversification, a passion for innovation and a focus on efficiency. Synthetic Cut & Stack and Inmould (IML) labels has added another dimension to the business and our expertise has been utilised by WRAP UK to develop sustainable programmes for a variety of recycling challenges.

FPD: Why did you acquire Systems Labelling last year?
Doran: To complete the packaging portfolio. Our combined offering enables us to compete on a number of fronts but collectively Americk Packaging can offer real value to the industry. Systems Labelling was an obvious choice given its reputation.

A complete labelling offer is important to the group which can now deliver Flexibles - Cartons - Labels packaging streams. This acquisition is the fourth in only three years and is integral to the Americk vision to establish a cohesive group of companies to service the packaging needs of major and minor brands in the FMCG and Healthcare sectors.

FPD: The Americk Group has invested over £9m in equipment in the last two years, tell me about that.

Doran: Primopost and Marchmont have benefited from both new plant and facilities to the tune of £9m and 2014 will see similar commitments for Systems Labelling's facility in Deeside and building on the wider presence for Webtech in Europe and North Africa. There is another acquisition on the cards in 2014 to strengthen the Flexibles arm.

FPDF: You plan to double the size of the business within the next three years, how are you going to do that?
Doran: By focusing on our combined strengths and matching these to the market needs. The Americk brand is about providing value, innovation and efficiency to the key food, beverage and healthcare manufacturers. Our reinvestment programme will provide the platform to deliver this on a pan European scale.

FPD: Systems Labelling recently launched a South African supermarket own label for Vit flavoured water, why?
Doran: One of our beverage customers has been actively growing export sales and was looking for a specific finish for a label without having to increase costs. Systems Labelling worked closely with a South African design house to achieve a "brushed metal" look by using a combination of standard materials and varnishes applied in a specific, yet industrialised way.

FPD: What other deals do you have in the pipeline for 2014?
Doran: A potential "sizeable" acquisition towards the end of the year.

FPD: What do you see as the biggest challenge for 2014?
Doran: Maintaining our performance by managing the unknown quantities which in the packaging industry, tends to focus on raw material prices. The volatility of the market is well documented in many substrate supply chains, however, as a group we are managing a wide range including paper, board and plastics. 2014 will be a challenge for our group purchasing team.

In conclusion, The Americk brand will continue to build awareness during 2014 but not as "The New Kid On The Block" more of a "Flagship Brand" for the packaging industry given the collective history at its core.’

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