Higher company performance and reshoring are just two of the favorable trends unearthed in this year’s plastics industry report conducted by Plante Moran. Since 1995, Plante Moran has led this study, which serves to gather and analyze the most empirical data collected in the plastics processing industry in North America. This year there were 84 companies representing 131 facilities and $3 billion in sales who responded to the survey. The majority of respondents were U.S. based with some representation from Canada and Mexico.
Plastics molders who have weathered the economic storms are continuing to show improvement in key performance metrics, such as, value-add per employee, equipment utilization percentage, and gross profit margins.
There is a related increased level of expansion and migration of plastics companies into Mexico. Tooling companies, crane companies, and other supporting businesses are slowly but surely starting to expand or set up operations.
A major highlight of the report indicates reshoring trends continue to create new opportunities for U.S.-based processors. Key drivers for reshoring initiatives are:
- lower energy costs in the U.S.
- continued socio – economic growth in South America, Africa and China are creating domestic opportunities for molders in these countries and consuming existing production capacity
- supply chain logistics and risks such as longer part ordering lead times, transit issues and customs complications
Given the growing strength in performance there is renewed interest from the M&A community in this sector. P&M Corporate Finance (Plante Moran’s investment banking affiliate) reports that a total of 1,463 plastics and packaging deals were completed between 2009–2012. It further notes that increased levels of M&A activity during Q2 and Q3 of 2013 indicate continued robust interest in this space, which bodes well for the potential for similar levels of M&A activity to continue for the next several quarters. Strategic buyers comprise the majority of buying activity, completing approximately 50% more transactions than financial buyers.
In summary the 2013 survey highlights results from an industry rebounding from the doldrums of a sluggish economy, positioned to efficiently compete in a global market and enjoy the benefit of attractive valuations that offer a multitude of options for the future.
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Leader, Plastics Industry Team
Co-Leader, Plastics Industry Team