Pharma and recycling expansion, new markets and products: Alpla invested in further development and growth in 2023. The global packaging and recycling specialist closed the financial year with turnover of €4.7 billion. Lower material and energy costs paired with exchange rate factors resulted in a moderate drop in turnover. Value added remained stable. While there was strong growth in Africa, demand was weaker in North and Central America as well as in China. The company is on track to achieve its target of using 25 per cent recycled materials in its products.
The Alpla Group invested globally in new production plants, recycling facilities, technologies and strategic acquisitions in 2023. As such, the company continued its further development and laid the foundations for the future. Annual turnover fell by around eight per cent year-on-year, from €5.1 billion in the previous year to €4.7 billion. This moderate decline above all reflects the industry-wide normalisation of material costs and corrects the high level seen in 2022. At the same time, exchange rate factors took effect. While Alpla expanded in the growth markets Africa and Asia, demand stagnated in North and Central America as well as in China. In Europe, the company increased its presence in the pharma, recycling and industrial sectors.
“The year of high costs was followed in 2023 by a year of mixed demand and fluctuation industry-wide. We nevertheless generated stable value added, invested extensively, developed innovative products and built up our capacities, thereby laying the foundations for long-term growth,” emphasises CEO Philipp Lehner. Alpla produces safe, affordable and sustainable packaging solutions in 47 countries. The company had a staff headcount of 23,300 in 2023. The number of sites increased from 190 to 196 due to new builds, extensions and acquisitions.
Alpla tapped new markets in Africa and increased its presence on this continent with new builds and capacity expansions. The company entered Morocco and began with the construction of a state-of-the-art recycling facility in South Africa in 2023. In addition to the AMET region (Africa, Middle East & Turkey), Asia and North America are further growth markets. Alpla plans to focus on investments in these regions as well as in the areas of injection moulding and recycling.
The development and production of pharmaceutical packaging via the Alpla pharma brand was intensified in 2023 on the basis of the joint venture with Inden Pharma and capacity expansions in Europe. This line of business is to growth further this year too. Large-volume containers for industrial applications have been being sold via the new Alpla industrial brand since 2023. With its entry into the pump market, Alpla expanded its portfolio as a system provider last year. As the new majority shareholder of the Danish company Paboco, the packaging specialist is also expediting the roll-out of fully recyclable paper bottles.
Alpla is on track in the area of recycling in spite of a slight drop in demand in 2023: at least 25 per cent recycled material is to be used in its packaging by 2025. This figure is currently at around 20 per cent. To cover its resource needs, Alpla is focusing on high-quality recycled PET and HDPE produced in-house. More than 50 million euros are invested annually in new facilities, production lines and technologies. The installed and projected output capacity was increased to 350,000 tonnes in 2023, already twice as much as in 2021.
The company underscored the increasing significance of this line of business in 2023 by establishing the brand Alpla recycling. Further investments will follow in 2024, as set out by Philipp Lehner: ‘The circular economy and design for recycling are the future. We are already gearing up for this by massively expanding our capacities. The sharp increase in demand for recycled HDPE confirms our strategy. We serve global customers as a strong partner, offering them high-quality solutions around the world.’