European Film Extruder Sets Up North American Operation
German processor Südpack sets up direct sales operation in Chicago.
U.S. processors at the high-end of the film extrusion market will soon have a more robust competitor.
Südpack USA Inc., a fully-owned subsidiary of the 50-year-old German packaging specialist Südpack GmbH & Co. KG, has recently ramped up its distribution network with plans to “conquer the North American packaging market.” Based in Chicago, the U.S. operation was founded in 2012 and has increased its business activities ever since. Prior to that, the processor was supplying material through “external partners.”
The company has no plans at the moment to manufacture in North America, said Tom Wilde, sales director of Südpack USA. “(But) the demand for our solutions has steadily increased since we founded Südpack USA Inc. With our high-quality products and customer support, we can generate sustained added value for our American customers,” he added.
Südpack has about 1,000 employees and generated more than $440 million in global sales in 2012. Its product portfolio ranges from multilayer hard and flexible films to flow wrap films, lid films, microwaveable convenience packaging solutions, prefabricated bags and technical film. The company also prints its films in-house. The company’s focus on the North American market is on re-sealable packaging as well as deep drawing flexible and hard films.
While Südpack will not be manufacturing, this likely won’t be the last time a leading processor from outside North American seeks to set up an operation on this side of the ocean. Longer term, as shale-gas-based resins start to come on stream on this side of the ocean, experts from the materials, equipment and processing side believe that more and more processors from Europe and elsewhere will start to produce film—and other polyolefin-based extruded or molded products, for that matter—to be made here. From a pricing standpoint, the consensus is naphtha-based PP/PE consumed by European processors will not be able to compete with gas-based resins made in North America. The wheels are in motion.