Metal cans, especially aluminium cans used for beverage and aerosol packaging, are the most recycled packaging units across the globe. They can be recycled at the end of their lifecycle without degradation in quality, and that makes them the preferred packaging material for brands across industries, ahead of other materials like plastic and paper. The demand for aluminium cans in the U.S. and Europe has always been on the higher side. With the growing middle-income group population, changing lifestyle, and evolving consumer preferences, the consumption rates in the Asian and South-east Asian countries are also rising steadily. According to a recent report, the global metal cans market is expected to reach USD 52.83 billion by 2020. Following are the top five aluminium can manufacturers who are shaping up the aluminium packaging growth story globally:
Amcor is a global leader in packaging solutions supplying a broad range of rigid & flexible packaging products into the food, beverage, healthcare, home and personal care packaging industries. The company operates 128 flexible packaging units across 35 countries. In 2015, its flexible packaging business reported a total sales of Euro 4,996 billion. Amcor’s signature product Composite Can has high aluminium content and finds application across a wide range of product categories.
Amcor participates in a number of recycling programmes. It is an active member in industry bodies such as Aluminium Stewardship Initiative, European Organization for Packaging and the Environment, and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Presently, the company is out on a buying spree. After pocketing a number of packaging firms, Amcor is now planning to acquire Hebei Qite Packing Co. Ltd. in China at a total price of $28 million.
Ball Corporation after acquiring Rexam Plc in a US$6.1 billion cash-equity (+ $2.4 billion of debt) deal in June this year has become the world’s largest beverage can manufacturer. The combined company now accounts for 60% of beverage can supply in North America, 69% in Europe and 74% in Brazil. With a current market cap of $10.3 billion Ball Corp is currently working on post-acquisition integration across the merged company verticals.
For 2015, Ball achieved new standard for carbon emissions of their beverage can by reducing it 10% against the 2010 base target. It has now set a 25% carbon emissions reduction goal for 2020. Recently, Ball has joined as a leading member in NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) which will develop green alternatives to conventional chemical propulsion systems for aviation and spacecraft reducing about 75% emissions.
Silgan Containers LLC
Silgan is America’s largest provider of metal food packaging solutions. Its expertise in can making can be traced back to 1899 when the Carnation Company began making its evaporated milk cans. Today, the company holds about 50% of the U.S. market share.
Silgan manufactures most of its products in the U.S. and Europe. With the competition from foreign-based companies using cheaper, outsourced labour from emerging markets rising, the company is being faced with mounting pricing pressures. In response to these pressures, Silgan has begun acquiring smaller competitors to expand its market share, investing in new technologies to increase manufacturing and production efficiency and perhaps most importantly, better controlling its raw materials costs through future contracts.
The Philadelphia, U.S. based packaging company Crown Holdings produces a comprehensive range of aluminium cans to match various beverage applications, food packaging and distribution channels. With operations in 40 countries and net sales of $9.1 billion, Crown is uniquely positioned to bring the best practices in quality and manufacturing to growing economies in Asia, Eastern Europe, South America and the Middle East and North Africa.
Ardagh Group is a packaging conglomerate controlled by Irish billionaire Paul Coulson. Based in Luxemburg, the supplier of glass and metal containers operates 89 manufacturing facilities across 21 countries, and has global sales of approximately $6.2 billion.
Ardagh is essentially an R&D and innovation-driven company. It has lately come up with a wide range of beverage packaging solutions. Its interactive printing technology in aluminium bottles and cans which embeds a watermark code in print ready artwork promises to serve as a great marketing solution and anti-counterfeiting technique for brands. Among Ardagh’s latest feats winning 2016 Canmaker Cans of the Year competition remains the foremost. The canmaker’s re-closable aluminium bottle for two of Coke’s best-selling brands earned it gold in the coveted Bottle category.
The list does not end here; neither the listing of the top five aluminium can manufacturers in the world is based on the companies’ market capitalizations. There are other can makers too who cater to the global demand of aluminium cans.
There is Arconic, Novelis, Constellium – the big names in the industry who have well-structured downstream divisions, and then there are pure packaging industry players such as U.S. based Reynolds Group Holdings Limited, India’s Al-Can Exports, and Anheuser-Busch Packaging Group/Metal Container Corporation.
The global metal cans demand is projected to reach 431,573.9 million cans by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 2.9% from 2014 to 2020. With the above aluminium can manufacturers stepping up their product differentiation and innovation pursuits the demand for the aluminium cans is expected to rise further in the medium to long term.