For Huhtamaki, 2014 was a year of change. We sharpened our strategy and focused our business on food packaging, where we already are among the leading companies in the world, and where we want to be successful in years to come. In July, we announced the acquisition of Positive Packaging, a flexible packaging manufacturer having operations in India, the United Arab Emirates and Africa. After closing the acquisition at the end of January, we're now enthusiastic to start integrating the business into our Flexible Packaging segment. Due to our focus on food packaging, we decided in the summer to look for future options for our Films segment and announced the sale of the segment in November. The transaction was closed on the last day of 2014 and therefore the business is now reported as discontinued operations. Related to the sale, we have also booked a gain of approximately EUR 5 million for the fourth quarter. These two sizable transactions, the acquisition of Positive Packaging and the sale of Films, increased significantly our focus on food packaging and also the share of fast-growing emerging markets in our portfolio. Now a majority of our employees and manufacturing plants are at the emerging markets, as well as close to 40% of our net sales.
Smurfit Kappa has worked with a well-known Belgian specialty brewer to produce a sustainable packaging concept that eliminated the need for shrink film.
The Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck in Belgium was seeking to implement a completely circular supply chain and made a number of changes. These included using recyclable cans instead of glass, to provide an additional more future-proof packaging solution, and removing the plastic.
Smurfit Kappa made recommendations for a 100% recyclable, paper-based solution which eliminated the requirement for shrink film. The sustainable new pack was also attractively designed and featured an in-built handle to facilitate easy transportation for the consumer.
Speaking about the collaboration, Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck CEO, Xavier Vanhonsebrouck, said: “It was very nice to be able to discuss our plans with Smurfit Kappa because they also have a culture of innovation and worked with us to find the right solution. We have the perfect packaging for the future now.”
Smurfit Kappa CEO of Europe, Saverio Mayer added: “The Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck has a lot of exciting plans to expand into new markets and an ever-growing product range that we are looking forward to collaborating with them on.
“Both our companies share a deep commitment to sustainability and the Smurfit Kappa Better Planet Packaging initiative opens up a world of possibilities for us both.”
In the year following the launch of Smurfit Kappa Better Planet Packaging, the number of customers choosing paper-based packaging as an alternative to less recyclable alternatives has grown steadily. The packaging solution created for Vanhonsebrouck is an important addition to Smurfit Kappa’s portfolio of sustainable packaging solutions for canned products.