Managing Director Koen Verstraete and Business Development & Marketing Manager Dieter Maes look back at Verstraete IML’s past year and consider the future.
How has growth continued to evolve at Verstraete IML in 2017?
Koen Verstraete: “In 2017, we saw strong growth once again. This is why we continue to invest significantly in our Belgian production sites: in order to increase our capacity and reduce lead times for our clients. Europe remains our largest market and we aim to do all we can to ensure that our clients are well looked after. Over recent years we have invested in additional infrastructure, machines and people. Just like in 2016, we focused on hiring extra people, as well as making investments in research and process innovation.”
Dieter Maes: “Our IML labels are a semi-finished product and we want them to be processed as efficiently as possible. We therefore frequently meet with injection moulders and other partners in order to optimise our materials and processes. We also continuously expand our specialist knowledge using our very own research centre. We utilise such know-how in support of our clients and partners. Europe remains our largest market and we aim to do all we can to ensure that our clients are well looked after.”
Verstraete IML is now part of Multi-Color Corporation?
Koen Verstraete: “Until recently, Verstraete IML was part of Constantia Flexibles, an Austrian packaging producer that was operating in three divisions: Pharmaceuticals, Food & Labels.Following a detailed strategy review, Constantia Flexibles decided that the top-performing Labels division would be better suited with another partner, which will support its ongoing growth story. By merging Constantia’s label division with Multicolor has created the second largest label group globally and Wendel will continue to participate in the growing label market through its position as the largest shareholder in Multicolor.”
Dieter Maes: “The former EVP Labels at Constantia Flexibles, Mike Henry, has been appointed as the new CEO-elect at Multi-Color Corporation. This guarantees our continuity: there are few changes to the reporting structure and he knows our company extremely well. So the future of Verstraete IML is secure. We believe there is a promising future for Verstraete IML with our new partner MCC.”
What are the benefits of this acquisition for your clients?
Koen Verstraete: “The acquisition is certainly positive for Verstraete IML and our clients. Multi-Color Corporation is entirely focused on labels and therefore fits our core activity perfectly. Furthermore, MCC has seventy operational sites worldwide. That gives us opportunities to increase our global presence. In addition, at Verstraete IML our strength lies in injection moulding and thermoforming IML, while MCC is big in blow moulding IML. By combining our technological know-how we are able to create new opportunities. Last but not least, MCC is an US-based group and America remains an important growth market for IML.”
What is the effect of the acquisition on your expansion plans in North America?
Koen Verstraete: “We aim to significantly expand our market leadership in North-America and serve American clients even better by producing locally. We were therefore planning to open an additional production site in Clarksville, Tennessee at the end of 2017: on a site belonging to a sister company of Constantia Flexibles. However, as soon as the sale of Constantia Labels was announced, we put these building plans on hold: there appeared to be considerable interest from US-based companies, which could influence our plans.”
Dieter Maes: “Following the acquisition by Multi-Color Corporation we carried out a new joint study and moved our production plans to an Multi-Color Corporation building in the greater Cincinnati area. We are able to make use of the know-how and expertise at the nearby MCC head office. The location suits our clients better and Cincinnati is a large metropolis. In this way we hope to attract the right staff more easily. The only disadvantage: this means a delay to the opening of the new production site in North America by a few months.”
Koen Verstraete: “We plan to be operational in Q2 of 2018 rather than at the end of 2017. We are already looking forward to informing our clients in North and South America in detail about our US production site during the NPE Fair in May 2018.”