The weak South African economy, and low business and consumer confidence, as well as the re-emergence of load-shedding and uncertainty in a number of areas, had a marked impact on paper and plastics packaging business Mpact’s customers and consumer-facing business in 2019. This resulted in tough trading conditions that put Mpact’s sales volumes under pressure across most sectors.
“Things did not go according to plan during the financial year,” CEO Bruce Strong told Engineering News, elaborating that the company had, at least, expected some growth in the South African market but that “there was none”.
Additionally, the international market for containerboard also declined during the 12 months to December 31 and, according to Strong, “did not recover”.
Despite the tough environment, he said Mpact had “bit the bullet” and ploughed ahead with some of the good things it had been doing. For example, the company introduced different packaging grades, paper punnets and paper bags for retailers – such as Woolworths – during the year.
The subdued market towards the latter half of 2019 has since translated into the early part of 2020 as well.