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Playingtowin 32 www. bus- ex. com June 09

Astrapak I n today's fast moving world, the retail industry would be at a complete loss without the flexibility of plastic packaging. From the ubiquitous plastic shopping bag and shrink wrap films, to rigid containers, PET bottles, caps and closures, plastic can be shaped, moulded and blown to complex and highly specific requirements, coloured, printed and stamped. You name it: the applications are diverse and the branding possibilities are endless. One of the leading players in the South African plastic packaging market is Astrapak. A relative newcomer to the industry, it was formed in 1997 through the acquisition of a group of owner- managed packaging companies. One of the earliest companies to become part of the group was Pak 2000, owned by Marco Baglione. " Our objective at that time was to form a plastics company which would make a difference," he explained. " We aimed to extract all the synergies of the group, take full advantage of the combined technical base, and to grow the plastics arena in South Africa." The company grew quickly through a series of acquisitions, ultimately forming a group of some 30 companies, which a market analyst once described as ' a loosely knit bunch of companies'. " And maybe he was right at that time," Baglione admitted. The task of integrating acquisitions into a single organisation is notoriously difficult. Last year, however, as part of the succession planning for the business the existing CEO June 09 www. bus- ex. com 33 Playingtowin South African plastic packaging material manufacturer Astrapak is in the process of restructuring and preparing to take the leap from medium- to large- sized company. CEO Marco Baglione tells Gay Sutton how he plans to guide this transformation