The largest producer in Europe is Klöckner Pentaplast, a long established supplier of rigid PVC films but also with a growing position in the supply of rigid PET films. It has been in private equity ownership since 2001, when it was divested to Cinven. In 2007 it was acquired by The Blackstone Group who last year sold it to a group of investors led by Strategic Value Partners LLC. Over this period the company has steadily grown through various acquisitions to extend its product portfolio and geographic reach. Recent acquisitions have included MAG Group's Novopac PVC and PVC/PE sheet business in France, the PP and PS mono- and multi-layer rigid film activities of AMB in Italy and the unprinted PET mono- and multi-layer rigid films business of Bemis Packaging Deutschland GmbH.
Number two in Europe in this sector is the recently created group, Paccor International, which is owned by Sun Capital Partners, Inc., which is building a global plastics packaging business in both flexibles and rigids. Paccor was created by the acquisition and full-scale integration of Huhtamaki's consumer packaging goods business, with Veriplast Rigid and Pannunion in 2011. The Huhtamaki operations included rigid plastic consumer goods packaging manufacturing in Hämeenlinna, Finland; Auneau, France; Siemianowice, Poland; and Istanbul, Turkey, as well as sales units in Germany and Lithuania. The subsequent integration of Veriplast Rigid (France, Spain, Poland, Bulgaria, Germany and Netherlands) and Pannunion (Hungary, Ukraine, Serbia and Romania) during 2011, made the newly created company the leading European supplier of sheet for FFS applications and it specialises in mono and multilayer sheets in reels including PS and PP, PS, PET, PLA and barrier sheet.
The other private equity owned top five player is VitasheetGroup. Vitasheet was formerly owned by British Vita but since 2005 it has been owned by the private equity group TPG Capital (formerly Texas Pacific Group). The group is primarily an industrial sheet manufacturer with particular strengths in the supply of ABS and PP sheet for graphic arts, display advertising, packaging and industrial applications. Under private equity ownership the focus has been on reorganising its assets to improve cost competitiveness with company strategy geared towards extending its portfolio and pushing sales in Central and Eastern Europe.
Other groups using in excess of 100,000 tonnes include Groupe Guillin, RPC Group, Linpac and Coexpan.
AMI estimates that the thermoplastic rigid film and sheet market in Europe reached just over 4 million tonnes in 2012, which matched the 2008 (pre-recession) level, with over 800 sheet production plants operating in Europe. The top 50 producers now account for nearly 65% of the total European sheet market compared with 56% five years earlier.