Boost of demand in recent years

The domestic sector of paper packaging is examined in a recent study of Infobank Hellastat S.A. According to Alexis Nikolaidis, Economic Research & Sectorial Studies Senior Analyst, the economic recession that occurred in late 2008 restricted domestic industrial production to a significant extent, with negative implications being identified in most individual sectors. Therefore, the production activity of the paper packaging sector has also declined, the end products of which are used in several sectors of Greek manufacturing.

In detail, according to the relevant ELSTAT index, the production performance of paper packaging companies kept diminishing until 2012, while the manufacturing activity kept falling at a significant rate, reflecting the conditions of diminishing demand that prevailed for packaging products. However, over the last years, a recovery trend has been noticed in consumption, which has had a positive impact on the production activity of the sector. Therefore, in 2016, it is estimated that demand for paper packaging products increased marginally, which was followed by a rise in the production output by 9.8%. Subsequently, in the following year, a slight decline of 1.6% was noticed.

The sector proved to be highly resistant to the adverse economic conditions of previous years, since increased demand from the farming sector due to the boost in the volume of exports of fresh fruit and vegetables has been a positive parameter. At the same time, major sectors – manufacturing customers showed a moderate decline in their production activity (or even a rise), protecting thus partnering paper packaging companies from bigger losses.

However, in 2017, a negative aspect has been the rise in paper pulp prices over the last months of the year, which burdened the cost of production. The prices offered in the markets of Western Europe for pulp made of soft wood from producers in Northern Europe have recorded a significant rise since August onwards, as a result of the fact that an unusually warm winter made the cultivation of trees that are used in pulp production difficult. Therefore, in recent months, the replenishment of inventories has become difficult and supply has become quite hard.

According to Mr. Nicolas Gouzelos, Chairman & CEO of Infobank Hellastat, “Domestic economic activity has returned to an upward trend as of this year, which will have a positive impact on Greek manufacturing. This positive momentum – provided that no other extraordinary turbulence occurs – will favor the sector of paper packaging products, the market value of which is expected to increase mildly over the next two years.”

Financial analysis

In the study of ΙΒ.HS, the financial statements of 62 companies are analyzed. The key conclusions can be summarized as follows:
  • In 2016, Turnover was formed at €415.17m, showing a rise of 8.1% from the year before.
  • Total EBITDA boosted by 16%, amounting to €37.58, while EBT increased significantly by 42%, at €6.84m.
  • The EBITDA margin and the EBT margin rose by 8.8% and 2.9%, respectively.
  • Capital leverage remained at a high of 1.3 over 1.
  • Receivables were collected within a period of 4 months.

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