It is a popular time for investments in Russia, if the past month’s news is anything to go by. UK food packaging producer Sirane overcame the planning and logistical challenges of building in Russia by establishing a facility in Moscow. The company had been exporting absorbent pads for food packaging into Russia for the previous 18 months.

Meanwhile, Austria’s Gabriel-Chemie laid out plans to build a masterbatch plant in the Vorino industrial park, south west of Moscow, as demand for masterbatch in Russia continues to grow.

Australia’s TNA is busy opening an office in Russia to support food manufacturers in the Baltics and wider region of CIS countries with turnkey systems.

In other construction news, food-service packaging manufacturer Lollicup has signed a development deal to start building a 700,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Texas, USA.

In the UK, food packaging producer Aegg has started construction of a plant in Suffolk that will meet increased demand for PS, PET and PP food bowls and pots.

On the expansion front, Milacron has completed the near doubling of its footprint in China with a significant investment into its hot runner and control systems manufacturing facility in Jiangsu, while Ineos has expanded its compounding capacity for styrenic polymers in India. And Sanner has completed the expansion of its production facility in Bensheim, Germany, which includes the installation of 14 injection moulding machines.

While financial results showed sales growth for a number of companies (more on this shortly), mergers and acquisitions were few and far between during July and early August.

The Huntsman and Clariant merger of equals edged closer, while the Dow and DuPont deal was also set to complete this month after all regulatory hurdles were finally cleared.

GW Plastics, meanwhile, did finalise a deal with the acquisition of Avenue Mould Solutions, which is a manufacturer of moulds and injection moulding tools for the pharmaceutical industry.

The pharmaceutical packaging market is projected to grow at an annual rate of 6.4 per cent during the period 2016-21, claims Research and Markets. This growth is attributed mainly to increased demand from the emerging economies for improved healthcare services and an increase in the aging population in developed economies.

Six years on from its acquisition by Berkshire Partners and the OMERS pension fund, Canada’s Husky Injection Molding Systems is set for auction after hiring Goldman Sachs Group, claims news service Reuters. It is believed that a sale could raise almost $4 billion, including debt.

Although Husky was unavailable for comment on the news, it will be speaking loudly about its “breakthrough” Multi-Layer Technology at Drinktec in Germany this month, which can be utilised across CSD, juice, sparkling water, beer, tea, dairy, food and personal care applications.

Back to the aforementioned financial results, Borealis posted a rise in second quarter sales but a decrease in net profit as a result of a high level of investment related to growth projects and turnarounds.

Clariant’s sales were also up, demonstrating a 9 per cent rise on the CHF 2.89 billion ($3.04bn) posted in the second half of 2016. The 2017 figure was CHF 3.13bn ($3.20bn), which the company said was driven by higher volumes and expansion in the Catalysis and Natural Resources segment.

BASF posted a sales rise of 12 per cent for the second quarter, while machinery maker Milacron experienced an upsurge in orders for the second quarter and a marginal increase in sales. Sales were up 0.4 per cent on the previous year to $309.2 million.

A study into carbon emission savings by denkstatt GmbH on behalf of Austrian converter Alpla has found that recycled PET (rPET) produces better results than previously thought. The savings for a single kilogram of rPET are enough to power a 13-watt bulb continuously for 20 days, claimed PET Recycling Team, which is majority owned by Alpla.

From savings to lost revenues, UK-based recycler Vanden Recycling warned last month that the industry is at risk of being short-changed as a result of weighing and reporting inaccuracies. Claiming that such issues are widespread, the company highlighted serious operational issues that it says should ring alarm bells for UK organisations that are trying to maximise plastics recycling.

While one company is attempting to educate others, the Virtuous Circle project continues to help educate children with 500 double school desks made from recycled plastics being delivered to primary schools across South Africa.

And finally…

General Mills is aiming for game, set and match with its latest signing, Britain’s number one female tennis player Johanna Konta.

The company is developing Nature Valley cereal bars that it claims are ‘better for you’, and therefore sees the tennis star as an ideal brand ambassador. It is almost a shame that the company does not also have a ‘deuce’ (juice) brand within its portfolio.

Steven Pacitti