MeadWestvaco keeps an eye on acquisition opportunities

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Late-2000s recession

MeadWestvaco (MWV) is searching for acquisition opportunities in the packaging industry despite the economic gloom.

Daniel Saksik, VP global luxury, told CosmeticsDesign.com at the PCD Congress in Paris last week that the recession was not all bad news.

“It is going to bring a lot of opportunities to our company to acquire other activities,”​ said Saksik.

Potential for growth in packaging

Saksik: “We may grow differently in the future, still being in the packaging industry but by adding new activities.”

The deteriorating economic situation has hit the packaging sector hard and MWV has not escaped the fallout.

Under the economic pressure, between 12 and 14 MWV factories are to be closed and 2,000 jobs, 10 percent of the workforce, are being cut.

The restructuring plans are expected to generate savings of $125m in 2009 and even higher annual savings in the years to come.

Saksik said the measures in no way inhibit future growth. On the contrary, he said they make the company stronger than it was a year ago.

The company executive admitted that the packaging industry had been affected by the economic downturn but insisted that MWV was well placed to weather any storms.

Reorganization serves a dual purpose

Last year MWV reorganized its operations according to business unit creating a Personal and Beauty Care division, led by Thomas Jonas, the former general manager of Alcan Beauty Solutions.

Saksik said the realignment of the business brought them closer to customers. “It is also an answer from our company to be ready to live with this stormy weather.”

A certain amount of stormy weather surrounded the financial results for 2008. MWV endured a net loss of $90m for the year ending December 31, and sales in the fourth quarter fell 7 percent on 2007 to $1.599bn.

Nevertheless, Saksik said the company was in sound financial health and has a “strong motor”​ for growth.

He said: “We are a strong company in terms of how we behave on the market and the way we manage our money.”

Related topics: Packaging & Design

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