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UK packaging manufacturer gets BGF investment

BGF News 07.17.2014

A UK packaging manufacturer is set for accelerated growth after receiving £5m of investment from BGF, the independent company established to help Britain’s growing businesses.

With its head office in Tunbridge Wells, Plastique designs and manufactures innovative thermoformed packaging for customers in the personal care, household products, pharmaceutical, food and broader retail markets. The majority of products manufactured are bespoke to the specific requirements of its client base of global brand owners. Examples of products produced include gift set inserts, packaging for electronic items and clam shell packaging.

The business operates primarily in the plastic packaging market, but is also seeing increased demand in the emerging thermoformed pulp packaging market.

BGF has invested £5m for a minority stake in Plastique to support management’s growth plans in both its core market and the emerging thermoformed pulp sector. This will be achieved by doubling the size of the company’s facility in Poznan, Poland from 3,000sqm to 7,300sqm to house additional manufacturing equipment and to bring outsourced storage of raw materials and finished goods in-house. It will also facilitate the purchase of additional manufacturing equipment.

Established in 1979, Plastique has grown steadily and now generates annual revenues of circa £25m, delivered from three sites in Tunbridge Wells, Nottingham and Poznan, Poland. The company currently employs 170 people, with a number of new jobs expected to be created as part of the expansion.

The business is led by Managing Director, John Lowe and Sales Director, Perry Rigler who have worked at Plastique for 31 and 28 years respectively, and who led an MBO of the business in 2009 from the company’s founders.

Plastique operates in the growing European rigid plastic packaging market worth circa €9bn in 2013 and forecast to grow at circa 6% in the medium term, driven by increased demand from emerging economies in Central and Eastern Europe*. Thermoformed pulp packaging is a new market, which management believes represents an exciting opportunity for Plastique. Presently, thermoformed pulp packaging is produced in Asia, predominantly in China. Plastique is the first European manufacturer and will look to benefit from an increased appetite to ‘on-shore’ work.

BGF has a strong track record of backing British manufacturing businesses having to date backed 19 manufacturers across the UK, with operations ranging from production of plastic payment cards to precision engineered components for the automotive industry.

At the introduction of BGF, Geoff Percy, the former CEO of the Simple Health & Beauty Group and current Chairman of Orion Media, has joined the Plastique board as Non Executive Chairman and Investment Director Rory Pope has joined the board as BGF’s representative.

John Lowe, Managing Director of Plastique, said: “Our commitment to quality and design has given us a track record of success going back over 35 years. With BGF’s involvement, we feel we can go further and faster. With an investment of growth capital into the company, we can significantly improve our already profitable business over the coming years without losing control of what we have worked hard to build as team. We are delighted to have Geoff, Rory and the wider BGF team on board and we are looking forward to an exciting period for Plastique.”

Perry Rigler, Sales Director added: “Alongside our core market in thermoformed plastic packaging, we see huge potential for diversification and expansion of our business in the emerging thermoformed pulp market. Many of our customers are long-standing, having been with us for over ten years and recognise the bespoke products that we provide are of the highest quality. BGF’s investment will allow us to further expand our business with these clients, offering the same quality but on a wider range of products.”