Mondi’s Convenience-Goods Packaging to Counter European Slowdown

Mondi Group, the largest producer of office paper in Eastern Europe, expects demand for its packaging materials to be immune from economic woes as smaller households mean increased spending on wrapped convenience food and goods.

“There is positive growth in mature markets and very good growth in the developing markets” for packaging, Chief Executive Officer David Hathorn said today in an interview.

With about 70 percent of such wrappings used in fast-moving consumer goods such as food, demand will grow regardless of the economy, Hathorn said in Johannesburg, the company’s base.

Mondi is expanding market share in higher-margin consumer packaging as shrinking European families buy more convenience products such as soup in stand-up pouches. The company bought Nordenia International AG for 240 million euros ($312 million) of cash and took on 398 million euros of its debt last year.

This year Mondi will “focus on bedding down acquisitions” totaling about 1.2 billion euros last year, Hathorn said.

Mondi fell 0.1 percent to 122.35 rand by 3:56 p.m. in Johannesburg trading after rising to a record yesterday.