„Welcome to our regular Industry Insight, giving you a birds-eye view in the most recent developments concerning the Packaging Industry. Primarily, the impact of COVID-19 on the industry is seen in an increase in the demand for corrugated cardboard packaging, but simultaneously a decrease in the associated paper industry. This offers exciting opportunities for future M&A activity.“
Total Development in billion EUR 2020-2024
Relative European M&A Activity
by product in % (last six months)
- According to Mordor Intelligence and based on previous Sazun Research, the Packaging Market is expected to grow at around 2,8% CAGR. The primary source of growth in the market is witnessed in APAC countries and within a significant portion of Europe and the US.
- The Relative M&A activity of the last six months shows the majority of activity in flexible plastic packaging, caused by an increase in F&B packaging demand. Additionally, various deals in the (corrugated) cardboard market are experienced, explained by demand increases in the E-Com sector.
Sources: Sazun Research, Mordor Intelligence (2020), Stora Enso Roadshow Presentation Q4 (2021), Technavio (2018)
Note: Relative M&A activity shown across 73 transactions within the last 6 months
Market Details | Pulp and Paper Deepdive
Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have witnessed emerging opportunities in the Paper Packaging Industry.
European Paper Demand
2020-2024 in milllion Tons
- The demand for paper has strongly been decreasing in the past and is further expected to decrease, given the shifts enacted by the pandemic.
- This caused structural changes in the paper packaging sector governed by a consolidation of the industry – especially within developed markets.
- Nevertheless, paper demand is expected to decrease less because of a surge in demand for corrugated packaging in the E-com sector.
Corrugated Cardboard Packaging market
2021-2024 in billion EUR
- Corrugated cardboard is utilized to package F&B, electronics, textiles and daily products.
- The industry is expected to increase at a strong rate of 8,1% CAGR. Besides the broad applicability, the product’s popularity has grown because of the sustainability trend in the packaging industry.
- Furthermore, it is expected that corrugated packaging will make up to a quarter of the global packaging market in the future.
The COVID-19 Pandemic accelerated previously shown trends in the packaging industry, supported by a growth of demand in the digital supply chain versus a sharp decrease in the printing and writing papers sector, given the home-office trend. Additionally, it is to be argued that the COVID-19 Pandemic strongly affected the view of hygiene in packaging and increased the cost pressure for organizations.
The significance of recyclable packaging is expected to increase because of the importance of sustainability in the global supply chain. This trend proved as very lucrative for Multinational Enterprises such as Coca Cola or Walmart. Moreover, Bioeconomy with an annual turnover of around EUR 2 trillion, is positively linked with opportunities for further growth and development in the packaging industry.
Disruptions in the supply chain, partially caused by one-time events such as the blockade from the Suez canal, but also by increased protectionism through tariffs in the US for Chinese products (and vice-versa), will impact the development of the market allowing for further consolidation within the sector.
The market still proves as very fragmented, but a stronger trend towards consolidation by large players is witnessed, especially in the developing markets. Furthermore, consolidation is driven by high Private Equity activity in the sector.
Sources: McKinsey (2019), Mordor Intelligence (2020) Gordonbrothers (2021),
Fisherinternational (2021), EU science HUB (2019), BBC (2021)
Valuation Trends and Developments
- The peer group consists of internationally stock-listed companies represented in the above-mentioned packaging categories. For Small and Mid-sized businesses 20-30% markdowns in multiples, depending on positioning and relative size, need to be considered.
- Market Multiples prove to be comparatively stable, showing only a slight dip between Q1 / Q2 2020 reasoned by the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Compared to 2019 numbers the Net Sales growth was positively impacted, reflected in an expected increase in EV/EBITDA (NTM).
- EV/SALES presents an increasing trend for the coming months with multiples clearly above the threshold of 1.
Source: Infront Analytics Sazun Packaging Peer Group
Key Performance Indicators
Selected Latest Deals (LTM)
Want to know more?
If you would like to learn more about the valuations and deals of your industry, the transaction mentioned above or generally our way of working, we would certainly be happy to demonstrate our m&a PLUS® principle in a confidential meeting.
Just get in touch and we will share our experience on how to grow businesses with long-lasting partnerships.
With passion for M&A,
Your SAZUN Team