Cans, bottles and jars producer Rexam has produced results for 2008 affected by the onset of the recession, but only nominally. Its sales continued their annual climb to reach £4,618 million generating an operating profit also up at £466 million, although other factors pulled this back to an 8 per cent reduction in pre-tax profit and 29 per cent fall in overall profit for the year.
During the year the company closed operations in both its key sectors, rigid plastic packaging and beverage cans, to balance capacity with demand and agreed contracts with most of its customers to protect it from rising raw material costs. It also invested in new plants and production lines. The company’s investment programme is “now past its peak” and Rexam has no new major growth investment projects planned in 2009.
Its focus on food, drink and medical packaging gives Rexam a certain resilience in a recession, and chief executive Leslie Van de Walle said that the measures it had already taken gave it flexibility to adapt to market conditions, but that “if market conditions are such that we have to mothball or take out further capacity, we will do so.