Packaging: The Experts' View

Leading European experts from the pharmaceutical packaging industry explain how they are coping with expansion into emerging markets, demands for anti-counterfeit technologies, environmentally-friendly processes and the need to innovate to meet industry trends.
Nov 01, 2010
Volume 22, Issue 11

This article is part of a special feature on packaging that was published in the November issue of PTE Digital, available at

Q Which geographical markets are stagnating/declining in terms of sales?

Consolini (IMA): The economic crisis of 2009 has deeply affected investment in Europe and the US, but not in the markets of Asia, the Middle East and South America, which are showing good growth prospects. For our company, the percentage of business in the emerging markets is considerable and we foresee it growing in the next few years.

Ludwig (Bosch): We serve both the traditional pharmaceutical markets, such as North America, Europe and Japan, as well as emerging markets, such as the BRIC countries. Currently we do not see a decline/stagnation in any of these; the pharma industry has not been as badly affected by the financial crisis compared with other industries and we see continuing strong investments. In the emerging markets, we've seen strong dynamics and this trend is clearly continuing. Machine requirements in emerging markets are constantly increasing, with regards to automation, performance and flexibility amongst others. Already, these markets contribute strongly to our overall sales and this is set to continue within the coming years.

Peters (Gerhard Schubert): North America is generally considered to be a stagnating market for the pharma industry at the moment. However, it may be that the current healthcare reform will generate new impulses. In emerging countries on the other hand, such as Russia and Turkey, market conditions are showing promise. Once a market shows enough potential we tend to start growing our acquisition force in these markets. Currently, about 5% of our business comes from emerging markets and per annum we estimate that the percentage growth is about 5–10%.

Schäfer (Optima): In general, we've been able to expand our sales even in the difficult years of 2008 and 2009, although the growth rate differs in certain regions. Our traditional markets of Western Europe and the US have grown slower than Asia recently, but it's only in Eastern Europe where we've seen a decline in the past few years — and this represents only a small share of overall sales. In the future, however, we expect further growth in all regions. In particular, we expect to see good growth from the emerging markets. From a mere 5% a few years ago, we can see this number going up to 30% in the next 5 years.

Tomasi (Marchesini): A certain degree of sluggishness has been noticed in countries of Western Europe, which has always represented a reference market for us. This is due to a number of contingent reasons; for example, some countries such as Spain are still heavily affected by the consequences of the economic crisis, while in Germany local companies are safeguarded by a recent policy of protectionism. To fight against this, we focus strongly on innovation and the efficiency of our machines. Additionally, we've responded to the economic climate by offering increasingly advantageous maintenance and service contracts, as well as a wide array of accessory services.

In 2010, roughly 30% of our sales have come from up and coming countries, such as Eastern Europe (14.3%), Latin America (11.5%) and the Far East (4.1%). These markets usually require simpler, but extremely flexible machines as batch and size changeovers are everyday occurrences. These markets also appreciate ruggedness, ergonomics and ease of use over absolute performance. We are very interested in these markets and we expect to grow by roughly 5% over the next 3 years.

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