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Battling Wrap Rage: T.H.E.M. Rolls out Snapsil Easy-Open Technology at Pack Expo 2014

By Noel Ward

Everyone has encountered packaging that seems designed to defy opening without use of hand tools—particularly those with cutting blades. Determined and frustrated consumers have even injured themselves in fits of wrap rage while wrestling a product from its plastic enclosure. For another look, see these earlier stories on wrap rage here and here

A solution may be at hand for some smaller containers. Snapsil, a new thermoformed packaging technology, seeks to alleviate these problems.In partnership with T.H.E.M (Technical Help in Engineering and Marketing), Bemis, and Multivac, the Australian-based Snapsil Corp., a new packaging technology features a “snap-opening” function, allowing consumers to one-handedly open the package. At present, different Snapsil packaging designs can be used for unit-dose and single-serve products. With a snap-opening integrated into the thermoformed pack, perforation in the film in the opening area of the packaging is not required which results in a stronger protective barrier for the product.

According to T.H.E.M., the first commercial usage of the Snapsil pouch was a single-serving of tomato ketchup. The Georgia Tech Research Institute has done testing on Snapsil and granted it the "Ease of Use" quality seal.

“We are very excited to support Snapsil, Bemis, and other supply chain partners in bringing this innovative package to North America,” said Neil Kozarsky, president and CEO of T.H.E.M. “This package design exemplifies consumers’ growing thirst for convenience. We anticipate broad market application for single-serve and portion-specific products. Energy drinks, hotel amenities, salad dressings, and a variety of beverage products and enhancers, are just a few of the possibilities for Snapsil.” If you will be at Pack Expo in Chicago next month, Mr. Kozarski will lead a presentation on Snapsil at 11:30 a.m., on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

For converters, this is an area to watch. Consumers may be brand-sensitive, but research also shows that consumers look at packaging for product information as they make purchase decisions. For many products, convenience—which includes ease of opening and dispensing—may trump other purchase decision factors, especially if this feature is promoted on the packaging.

Source: T.H.E.M.

Ready to Sell or Not—Not!

By Frank Steenburgh

It’s been a long road to get here, but we’ve finally arrived at a point where we can state it for the record: M&A opportunities for printing and packaging businesses are better than they’ve been in years.

EBITDA multiples—a key determinant of a company’s selling price—now range from three to five for commercial printing businesses and from six to seven-plus for packaging printers. These are big gains from where the multiples stood just 18 months ago. We’re also seeing fresh interest on the part of individual and corporate equity players who previously steered clear of any investment linked to printing.

In short, it’s a great time to sell a printing or a packaging business. But, as favorable as market conditions may be, is it your time?

The biggest underlying question is how attractive your company will be as an acquisition target, and we’ll come back to that in a moment. There are a number of other things to consider before you hang out the “for sale” sign:

Is the actual value of your company what you want it to be? A gap may exist between a seller’s expectations and the number that a formal valuation will yield. Be realistic here.

What do you intend to do with yourself after you sell? Very often, owners who have spent most of their adult lives building up a business can’t readily answer this vital personal question. Don’t proceed until you can.

Would you be willing to stay on as an employee of the new owner for a period of time? Buyers want continuity of executive management for one to three years. Is this role, would you remain comfortable playing post-sale, when you are no longer the boss?

Could you get a higher return by selling parts of the business separately as opposed to selling everything at once? Some owners find they can come out ahead by liquidating gradually: a building, an operating center, a division in another geographical area.

Does too much of your revenue come from too few accounts? Are you carrying too much debt? These financial downsides need to be addressed before they start to scare off potential buyers.

A strong market for acquisitions demands strong candidates. The larger a company is, the higher its EBITDA multiple is likely to be compared with smaller firms of its type. The greater its growth and the longer the list of vertical markets it has entered, the more credible it will be to buyers seeking proof that the company is in expansion mode, further increasing its EBITDA multiple.

It takes time to position a company for sale in this way, and the process must be a strategic one. That’s why we recommend engaging a qualified M&A advisor long before you think you will be ready to sell—in fact, several years ahead of the planned event.

Engage an M&A advisor for four reasons: (1) for a valuation of your company today; (2) for an assessment of your company’s strengths and weaknesses; (3) for development and execution of a business strategy to increase the value of your company; and (4) for the actual sale of your company.

With the advisor’s help, you can establish a practical timetable for maximizing the value of your company by driving the kinds of growth your buyer will expect to see. The advisor will perform an initial valuation of the business, determine where and how growth needs to occur, and recommend investments for achieving it within the time frame you’ve created.

Follow this plan, and the right moment for realizing your ambition will come. We’re currently working with an owner who is aiming at handing off the business three to five years from now. In the meantime, this owner intends to grow the business organically and by acquisition so that valuation and EBITDA will be where they need to be when his self-imposed deadline for making the decision arrives.

This way, instead of surrendering to the dictates of the market at some arbitrary point in time, he gets to control both the schedule and the structure of the deal he has in mind. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen at a moment of his choosing. And if that isn’t the best definition of the right time to sell a company, we don’t know what is.

About New Direction Partners

New Direction Partners (NDP) is the print and graphic communications industry’s leading provider of advisory services for firms seeking growth and opportunity through mergers and acquisitions. NDP assists its clients by giving them expert guidance and peace of mind at every stage of the process of buying or selling a printing company. Services include representing selling shareholders; acquisition searches; valuation; capital formation and financing; and strategic planning. NDP’s partners have participated in more than 300 mergers and acquisitions since 1979. Collectively they possess over 200 years of industry experience with transactions in aggregate exceeding $2 billion.

For information, e-mail

RotoMetrics Joins FLAG Family of Suppliers

ST. LOUIS—October 23, 2014—RotoMetrics, a supplier and manufacturer of rotary converting tooling, has announced its newly established relationship as a preferred supplier with Flexo Label Advantage Group (FLAG). FLAG was founded in January 2010 as a buying group for independent label printers and converters and has provided a streamlined purchasing approach and significant purchasing power to its members.

RotoMetrics was selected by FLAG as a supplier to its members because of the company’s strong history of providing precision engineered rotary tooling and ancillary products to the tag and label converting industry for over 57 years.

Harrison Chien, vice president of global marketing and business development for RotoMetrics says, “Our partnership with FLAG simply confirms our commitment to independent converters of all sizes and capacities. We’re excited to be welcomed by FLAG and its supporting community of members.”

Source: RotoMetrics

Apex Adds to Global Leadership Team, Targets Growth In U.S. Market

HAPERT, NETHERLANDS—October 23, 2014—Apex Group of Companies, which specializes in anilox and metering technologies, has added two executives to the company’s growing leadership team to improve the organization's ability to demonstrate value to more customers, particularly in North America.

Jeff Dietz has been appointed vice president of sales, with responsibility for North and Central America. Doug Jones has been appointed vice president of global marketing, with responsibility for marketing, advertising and brand management internationally. Both will be based in Pittsburgh.

Dietz has assumed leadership responsibility for the entire North American and Central American territories. He has more than 12 years of experience in equipment sales in the printing and packaging industries with a focus on corrugated. “Having Jeff on board will strengthen our leading position in the North and Central American market. With a solid background in the North American printing industry and his leadership style, we are ready to further improve our presence and service to the customers in these regions,” stated Willem-Jan Kersten, Apex chief commercial officer.

Jones is a marketing and sales strategist with over a decade of experience working with Fortune 500 companies in market demand creation, advertising and CRM process management capacities. “Apex has a unique position in the market because we have set the standard for conventional anilox solutions while also establishing ourselves as an industry leader in innovation. From a marketing prospective, the combination allows us to tell a very powerful story,” he states.

Source: Apex Group of Companies