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Kickstart: It’s a hot M&A market for … labels?

It’s a hot M&A market for … labels?

One trend we’ve noticed at Plastics News is an usual number of ownership changes for label making companies, a niche of the plastics film and packaging industry that usually doesn’t see a lot of attention.

Private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC just announced a deal to buy two label suppliers — Multi-Color Corp. of Cincinnati and Elk Grove, Ill.-based Fort Dearborn Co. — merging them into a $3 billion business it says will be “the world’s largest label solutions company.”

In June, it was investment firm Mason Wells doing the buying, closing an acquisition of KDV Labels LLC and its sister company, I-Graphics LLC. KDV is a label converter for a diverse set of consumer end markets including beverage, food, household cleaning and personal care with a headquarters plant in Waukesha, Wis., and another facility in Loveland, Colo.

PPC Flexible Packaging LLC of Buffalo Grove, Ill., picked up Target Labels & Packaging LLC of North Salt Lake, Utah, in May for an undisclosed price. The company makes flexographic and digitally printed, laminated and converted packaging labels, as well as rollstock and pouches.

Also in May, Canada’s CCL Industries picked up Singapore’s Lux Global Label, providing it $7.5 million in new business in Asia.

In April, Virginia-based Fortis Solutions Group LLC, part of Main Post Partners, acquired Total Label, with locations in Whitefish, Mont., and Memphis.

Granted, there are other parts of the plastics industry that have seen more M&A activity, but the rising interest in label makers stands out.

Also of note, if you’re a big fan of M&A reporting, the July 12 issue of PN will include Frank Esposito’s coverage of the big deals and trends of the first half of 2021.


What happens when no one shows up for a job fair?

The plastics industry, of course, isn’t the only one out there having problems recruiting workers.

Our sister paper Crain’s Chicago Business has a story about Midway Airport’s job fair at the end of June seeking people to fill openings at shops, restaurants and other sites within both Midway and O’Hare airports.

It expected about 100 people to show up. Instead, it drew five.

Not 500. Five.

“It’s horrible,” Robert Kenney, manager of Nuts on Clark, told Crain’s Chicago. The snack food business needed 10 workers for its facilities at both airports. Instead it is operating with a “skeleton staff” while it struggles to hire more.


A better way to spray

A student at Brunel University London took home the top Design Innovation in Plastics award with a simple polyproypylene shield that will help farmers treat crops for pests without impacting nearby plants.

Pol Blanch said his D-Shield was inspired by his interest in agriculture and the rural issue of how to apply pesticides safely to vital crops.

The shield is semitranslucent and foldable. When attached to the nozzle of a backpack sprayer, it helps to block pesticides and other agricultural chemicals from spreading to neighboring rows.

Other top awards went to a hand-held system to check for water safety and a polycarbonate gas cannister for outdoor camp stoves.


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