Astrapak, the South African plastic packaging market leader, and Afripack, a market leader in its chosen segments within the flexible packaging sector, have announced a joint venture to meet growing demand for quality packaging solutions in the perishable foods category using Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP). “While not significant in terms of the scale of either Group, the venture is strategically important as it cements our joint leadership in this key growth market,” commented Robin Moore, CEO of Astrapak, when making the announcement with James Hynd, Director of Afripack.

The announcement at the Propak packaging show in Johannesburg followed a technical presentation by Bas Groeneweg, of Netherlands-based PerfoTec, to introduce this world leading PerfoTec technology to the South African market. The PerfoTec technology offers improved product shelf life and thus reduced food waste to the local market. The laser-based micro-perforation system has a key role in the Astrapak-Afripack plan to take advantage of growth opportunities in perishable foods packaging. The system creates minute breathing holes in plastic film and bags used to package fresh produce, achieving superior in-transit and on-shelf quality and product reliability for perishable foods.

Afripack set up a venture in Kenya six months ago in partnership with Dillewijn of the Netherlands and General Printers Limited of Kenya, and installed the first PerfoTec line in Africa to service fresh fruit and vegetable growers supplying produce to Europe. Executives of both Astrapak and Afripack highlight significant synergies and opportunities for the Groups to work together. Astrapak’s Mapflex operation (formerly Knilam) has for many years been the market leader in South Africa for MAP and recently attained British Retail Consortium (BRC) accreditation for its Cape Town facility. Moore added: “The business has an excellent customer-base, an enviable market reputation and a great facility that recently achieved full BRC accreditation, confirming its world-class production and safety standards. By forming this venture, we are now adding the latest technology to our product offering.”

PerfoTec materials for the local market will initially be sourced by Knilam through the BRC-accredited Mapflex facility in Kenya. Investment in a production line in South Africa will be made when commercially viable. Hynd commented: “We have seen a tremendous rally of support for the technology from our initial investment in Kenya, with the likes of M&S in the UK accrediting the PerfoTec system as its preferred MAP supply. Based on our position in South Africa and local retailer requirements, it made absolute sense to accelerate the launch of this technology into South Africa. “Afripack has always driven the partnering philosophy, which has greatly assisted our venture into Kenya, and as such we are excited with the new opportunity to partner with Astrapak.” Moore noted: “Besides access to the latest technology, this gives our customers the benefit of immediate PerfoTec material availability locally and outside our borders, while still having the security of reliable supply of our traditional materials from Mapflex.

Both facilities are BRC-accredited and longer term customers will have the additional security of backup supply from two operations. “Arrangements between Afripack and Astrapak will ensure an unmatched offering to the MAP market into the future, assuring quality packaging production and consumer peace of mind locally and in markets across Southern, Central and East Africa.”

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF: Astrapak BY: Clear Distinction Communications

ASTRAPAK CONTACTS: Robin Moore (CEO) 011 615 8011 082 907 8490

CONSULTANCY CONTACT: Carol Dundas 011 444-0650 083 447 6648