Profitable growth opportunities remain in beauty packaging

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

The economic crisis has eaten into the turnover of leading packaging firms but the president of personal and beauty care at MeadWestvaco (MWV) insists that profitable growth opportunities remain.

In an interview with, Thomas Jonas, who took the helm at the newly created Personal and Beauty Care division in December, was optimistic about the future.

Potential for growth through acquisitions

The former general manager of Alcan Beauty Solutions said: “We remain confident that there are profitable growth opportunities for us in personal care and beauty.

“During this economic period we may also find timely opportunities to grow our business through acquisitions. In that case we will evaluate those carefully, considering the short-term impact as well as the long-term value of such an opportunity.”

Even with a recession in the background MWV claims to be in a position where it can contemplate growth through acquisitions.

“MWV has prepared for such an economic downturn and improved its overall performance in managing its financial position. As such, we have about $500m in cash and have reduced our overhead costs.”

Major restructuring plans

MWV is also in the process of restructuring its business. The company plans to close 12 to 14 factories and cut 2,000 jobs, 10 percent of the workforce, in order to generate savings of $125m in 2009 and even higher annual savings in the years to come.

MWV is keen to return to profitable growth after reporting a net loss of $90m for the year ending December 31. Sales also began to slide towards the end of the year falling 7 percent in the fourth quarter to $1.599bn.

These figures may not make good reading but Jonas said the company is well placed to ride out the recession thanks to a mixture of careful financial management and innovation.

“Our proactive management of cash and cost structure over the years and our ability to understand consumer market needs and develop value-added solutions that are meaningful in any market enables us today to operate during a hard time, as well as in the more stable periods that will follow.”

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