As we enter the end of the business year, some companies are putting their houses in order while others are building extensions, and some bought new investment properties or houses altogether.

Private equity bought assets from private equity in the flexible packaging sector, with Dutch firm Egeria Capital Management buying Clondalkin Flexible Packaging from Warburg Pincus in the US for an undisclosed sum. Clondalkin is a major player in the flexibles business with 11 manufacturing sites and sales of around €400 million ($448m). It goes head-to-head with Amcor, Constantia, Mondi and Sealed Air at the top of the European market.

Klöckner Pentaplast was also busy with its cheque book, as it purchased Turkish packaging firm Farmamak, which posts sales of €47m ($52m), giving the former service and capabilities through Turkey and the Middle East. Farmamak produces rigid films in PVC, PET and PP/PS that are used in various packaging applications such as trays and tubs.

In the rigid packaging market, Amcor Rigid Plastics agreed to buy the assets of Sonoco’s global plastics blow-moulding business so it could raise its presence in the consumer goods and foods segments in North America. As one business departed, Sonoco Europe invested €8m ($9m) at its Zwenkau site in Germany to boost capacity for injection-moulded rigid plastics packaging.

Also in Germany, the Axium Group decided to buy blow moulder KKT Kaller Kunststoff Technik for an undisclosed sum to expand its product range. KKT makes PET, PE and PP blow-moulded containers.

New Jersey, US-based AEP Industries, which manufactures flexible plastics packaging across 14 facilities in North America, has agreed to a merger with Berry Plastics Group in a deal worth $765m.

Growing beauty packaging producer Albea set up a base in Slovakia by buying Scandolara Tub-Est, a supplier to the oral care market that operates a laminates tube facility in Levice.

Sending in this month’s best ground-breaking photo of staff digging dirt was US extrusion machinery business Processing Technologies International (PTI), which has invested $10m in the expansion of its headquarters in Illinois to meet growing demand. The plant’s capacity will be increased by 50 per cent.

A little further along the construction line is Nova Chemicals, having finalised the mechanical stage of the third gas phase reactor at its Alberta site in Canada. The PE1 Expansion project will produce around 450,000 tonnes of LLDPE a year, which is a 40 per cent increase in the Joffre site nameplate PE capacity.

Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical, meanwhile, have completed their $20 billion joint venture mixed feed cracker (MFC) unit, which allows the JV firm Sadara to produce a diversified range of plastics and chemical products. The Technip-process MFC produces 1.5m tonnes of ethylene a year and 400,000 tonnes of propylene.

Another chemical firm is pushing hard to consolidate its market position after Ineos invested in UK shale gas and the import of US natural gas liquids (NGLs) to improve the cost competitiveness of its UK ethylene business.

In other building news, growing demand in Europe for pressure-sensitive materials inspired Avery Dennison to spend $65m on the expansion of its Rodange production facility in Luxembourg. Elsewhere, Italy-based hot runner manufacturer HRSflow opened a service centre in Mexico and a branch in Thailand, while Engel opened a sales and service subsidiary in Vietnam.

If you are reading this at K’2016 in Düsseldorf, Germany, then you will probably see the huge numbers of students and trainee engineers that attend the exhibition as they develop their future skills.

In a similar vein, German injection moulding machinery maker Arburg was in the news this month after continuing its decade-long partnership with the Higher Technical Institute (HTL) in Austria, which invites students of plastics technology to spend several weeks on work placement at Arburg’s Lossburg facility. Their practical experience includes learning how to set up and start an Allrounder machine in addition to conducting various tests and understanding key parameters.