Change ahead for the packaging sector with Bosch’s division sale

The decision announced by Bosch that it is intending to sell its well-established packaging machinery division represents a significant moment for the sector.

With a prominent place in the market and having exhibited an expanded product range – including equipment targeting the confectionery bakery sectors, it’s a move that is likely to have come as a surprise to many within the industry.

Whether it will herald similar moves by larger companies operating within the sector is hard to predict, but the decision has already prompted much media interest.

As Bosch explained, it believed its packaging division, particularly with regards to its food and pharma sectors, lacked obvious synergies with the rest of the company’s vast range of interests – which is point which is certainly easy to understand.

The company has said elements of its packaging operations had endured a challenging period over the past couple of years, yet the business said that installing new management teams had placed this segment of its operations in a stronger position.

There are of course considerable wider challenges facing the packaging industry as a whole. These include a renewed spotlight on environmental sustainability in production processes having a notable impact as a direct consequence of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II series.

This has vividly highlighted the extent to which the production of plastic packaging materials proving especially damaging to our fragile ecosystems.

With far greater consumer awareness of such issues filtering into major trade shows such as ISM/ProSweets and recently at IPACK in Milan, manufacturers of packaging equipment systems are now being prompted to work harder than ever to find solutions that both meet industry needs, as well as being more mindful of environmental impact.

As Bosch conceded, the large scale of its operations for packaging have meant that it is perhaps not as well placed to respond rapidly to changing consumer trends and requirements within the segment, which has clearly influenced its decision to seek a sale for its division.

Crucially, Bosch has stated that it hopes its present team of more than 6,000 employees within the division would be able to transfer under new ownership.

For many industry observers, it would certainly be extremely welcome for the series of innovations that the company has delivered over the years to continue, with any sale likely to take time to progress, given the size of the assets concerned. These are certainly interesting times for this segment of the industry.

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