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Amcor Limited

Amcor Limited

Southgate Tower East
40 City Road
South Melbourne
Victoria, 3205
Australia
(61-3) 694-9000
Fax: (61-3) 686-2924

Public Company
Incorporated:
1926 as Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd.
Employees: 25,300
Sales: A$6.42 billion (1996)
Stock Exchanges: Australia NASDAQ
SICs: 2657 Folding Paperboard Boxes; 3411 Metal Cans; 3085 Plastics Bottles; 2676 Sanitary Paper Products; 3089 Plastics Products Not Elsewhere Classified

Headquartered in Australia, Amcor Limited manufactures and sells a diverse assortment of paper, plastic, and metal packaging materials. Amcor products are used in the creation of paper wrappings, corrugated and solid fiber containers, rigid plastic containers, plastic bags and tubes, and cans for processed foods. Amcor also has substantial interests in pulp, paper, and other forest products, in tissue and personal-care markets, and in the trading and distribution of paper and pack-aging products. The company has operations located in 14 countries throughout the world, with its headquarters office in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, Australia. Amcor adopted its current name in May 1986, and its major period of expansion and acquisition has taken place since that time.

The Early Years

Amcor began as a paper making business called the Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd. (APM). The origins of APMalthough it was not incorporated under this name until 1926can be traced back to the 1860s and to some of the earliest Australian ventures in paper making. The 1860s were years of rapid industrial growth in Australias New South Wales and neighboring Victoria. The gold rushes initiated not only rising prosperity, but also an explosion in the areas population and available labor force. Furthermore, the introduction of a govern-mental protection policy for manufacturers in Victoria created a climate in which factories exploded in number. The paper making industry was no exception to this trend.

In 1864, the Collingwood Mill at Liverpool, New South Wales, was constructed for the Australian Paper Company. Four years later in Melbourne, Samuel Ramsden built his own mill and began production with the Number One Paper Machine. In 1871, William Fieldhouse erected Melbourne Number Two Paper Machine adjacent to Ramsdens mill; this operation was subsequently purchased by Ramsden. By the time a new entitythe Australian Paper Mills Companywas formed and registered in 1895, mills had been combined in Melbourne, Broadford, and Geelong. The companys capital was A$214,000 and its output was approximately 730 tons per year. The following year, it became the Australian Paper Mills Company Ltd.

Meanwhile, in the New South Wales capital of Sydney, John Thomson Brown had started a business of his own, trading in meat, grain, and farming and household goods. In 1885 David Henry Dureau became Browns Melbourne partner. Their company would later play an important role in APM/Amcors future. Brown and Dureaus company thrived, and was incorporated as Brown & Dureau, Ltd. in 1910. Over the years, as general commission agents, Brown and Dureau handled a wide range of goods.

In the first two decades of the 1900s, the Australian Paper Mills Company Ltd. entered a period of expansion as Australias overseas trade doubled since the turn of the century. In 1920, the Australian Paper Mills Company Ltd. combined forces with Sydney Paper Mills Ltd. to form the Australian Paper and Pulp Company Ltd. This entity then merged with the Cumberland Paper Board Mills Ltd. in 1926, and the operating company of APM was finally formed. This company would continue to function under that name for years to come, and into the 1990s as the pulp and paper making arm of Amcor.

The War Years: The 1930s and Beyond

In 1936, an agreement was signed between APM and the Victorian Forest Commission covering the procurement of wood pulp. Later that year, the 1936 Wood Pulp Agreement Act was passed by the Victorian parliament and led to the establishment of the Mary vale pulp mill. This pilot mill began semi-commercial production of eucalyptus kraft pulp in March of 1938, and the main mill started commercial production the following year.

The year 1939 saw the outbreak of World War II and the worst bush fires in Victorias history. APMs mill buildings survived, but the majority of its prime pulp wood source was destroyed. The company found, however, that fire-killed timber could still be used for pulping. This was fortunate, as the advent of the war brought about drastic changes in APMs operations: imports ceased abruptly, price controls were imposed by the federal government, a war-time profits tax was imposed, and Australian industries were required to provide military equipment to meet defense needs. Within two years, 70 percent of APMs total production was directed toward the manufacture of ammunitions and war equipment. During this period, the company demonstrated its strength as an innovator, supplying purified cellulose for the manufacture of smokeless cordite and other propellants for the Allied forces. APM also developed special papers and boards to resist moisture penetration for the troops fighting in tropical regions.

War-time conditions also prompted APM to increase its self-sufficiency. For example, before the war began, 80 percent of APMs total pulp requirements were imported, compared to times during and after the war, when 80 percent of its necessary raw materials were derived from local sources. Also, the war demanded self-sufficiency in fuel; in 1946, the company acquired a controlling interest in Maddingley Brown Coal Pty. Ltd. This acquisition, combined with the purchase of further coal-bearing land, soon produced 10,000 tons of coal per week and supplied all of the Victorian mills as well as other commercial and public enterprises.

Although APM was designated a protected industry by the Australian federal government during the war, the company nevertheless saw 25 percent of its work force enlist. Therefore, it recruited women to work in the mills. The company still operated with a decreased staff, but despite this and other hardshipssuch as a coal strike in New South Wales and further bush fires in 1944the company managed to continue the expansion of its mills. Production grew dramatically from 92,000 tons in 1938, to 131,000 tons in 1942.

Toward the end of the war, APMs managing director, Sir Herbert Gepp, set up a Post-war Planning Committee to win back freedom from government control and the war-time profit tax, and to prepare a case for reasonable tariff protection against the inevitable resurgence of competitive imports. The committee also discussed APMs future strategy, which was to include the extension of operations in wrapping paper and board; expansion into converting operations, such as the manufacturing of cartons and containers from APMs paper and board; and the manufacture of allied products such as cellophane and tissues.

Post-World War II Diversification Efforts

War time had resulted in major reorganizations, both financial and administrative. The development of public relations at APM was changed, and a new emphasis on industrial relations was adopted. The company still possessed a monopoly on the countrys wrapping paper and board markets, and was firmly established in mainland Australia as the countrys largest paper and pulp company. In the 1950s, APM initiated a foray into the corrugated packaging industry in which it was later to make significant acquisitions. Before 1940, there were four Australian companies operating in the corrugated packaging field; J. Fielding & Co. was the earliest, installing the first corrugator in 1914 at Buckingham Street in Sydney to produce the corrugating medium for packaging. In 1950, APM bought the first 96-inch corrugator, with plans to install it on the Springvale wastepaper recycling site, but instead sold it to Fieldings.

The 1960s saw APM extend its interests to the production of other paper products. In 1963, it established the jointly owned Kimberly-Clark Australia Ltd., in partnership with the Kimberly-Clark Corporation of the United States. The subsidiary produced all kinds of tissue products.

It was in the 1970s that Brown & Bureau, Ltd. took on a significant role in the history of APM/Amcor. Brown & Dureau acquired the Eastern Tool Company, Lukey Mufflers, and Angus Hill Holdings, which would later form the nucleus of Amcors automotive division. In 1975 Stan Wallis became the deputy managing director of APM, which marked the beginning of many years of strong leadership for the company. Under Wallis, APM began a process of diversification in the late 1970s. One of the most important acquisitions was that of Brown & Dureau in the financial year 19781979. This purchase brought APM substantial interests in the fields of international trading, automotive, retailing, and aviation.

Acquisitions in the 1980s

In the following decade, more major acquisitions for APM included the Ingram Corporation Ltd. and Edwards Dunlop & Co. Ltd., a paper merchant and stationery manufacturer, respectively. From these acquisitions grew the merchanting, stationery and designer products division. During the same period, APM acquired 40 percent of James Hardie Containers, manufacturers of corrugated fiber boxes for packaging food and drink.

In 1982, APM acquired Containers Packaging, the fourth major wholly-owned subsidiary. That same year, New Zealand Forest Products (NZFP)that countrys leading forestry groupformed a joint venture company with APM, allocating 50 percent of the shares to each corporation, and called it Anfor. This was set up to develop a corrugated box plant in Hong Kong, with NZFP supplying liner board and APM supplying the corrugating medium to make boxes to be sold to Chinese, South Korean, and Japanese customers.

In 1986, APM bought the balance of James Hardie Containers and an era of rationalization began. During this time period, plants were acquired from Reed Corrugated Containers, J. Fielding & Co., Tasman U.E.B., United Packages, Corrugated Paper, Fibreboard Containers, Fibre Containers, J. Gadsden Paper Products, Tasmanian Fibre Containers, and Cardboard Containers. Also in 1986, the company adopted the name of Amcor Limited, in order to better reflect the companys emerging diversity in its holdings.

Near the middle to end of the decade, Stan Wallis embarked on an ambitious program of capital investment in import-substituting plants, and in reopening existing plants to supply growing export markets. But not all of Stan Walliss plans were successful. In April 1987, a possible merger between NZFP and Amcor was announced. The proposed merger would have covered only the pulp and paper production and marketing of the two companies, thus stopping short of a full merger of operations. But in August 1987, Amcor received the New Zealand Commerce Commissions decision: the merger would not go ahead.

The principal reason for the commissions rejection was that the proposed new entity would have a virtual monopoly of the manufacture and import of kraft paper and paperboard in New Zealand. The same obstacle did not impede Fletcher Challenge, Amcors main domestic rival. Amcor promptly sold its 11 percent stake in NZFP to the Rada Corporation, which some thought was a defense against a Fletcher Challenge takeover. In 19861987 Kiwi Packaging of New Zealand also became a wholly owned subsidiary of Amcor, running five corrugating plants and two sheet plants.

Amcor then turned its eyes to offshore investment opportunities. In 1988, the year following the failed merger with NZFP, the group announced it was concentrating on overseas business expansion; as evidence, it switched Don B. Macfarlane to the newly-created post of general manager of international business development. According to Amcor, the creation of Macfarlanes new post signified its commitment to a structured and systematic approach to expansion outside Australia.

Throughout the decade, Amcors packaging division established two plants: one at Smithfield, New South Wales; and another at Scoresby, Victoria. In the financial year 19881989 it bought 46 percent of Sydneys Universal Containers. During the 1980s Amcors key objectives were to broaden its range of activities, particularly into packaging; to restructure its core pulp and paper businesses and integrate forward into paper converting in Australia; and to commence major overseas expansion. In June 1989, Amcor bought Twinpak, the largest plastics containers producer in Canada with 13 plants spread across the country. The acquisition accounted for a significant proportion of the 32 percent increase in containers packaging sales in the financial year 19891990.

In 1989 Amcor appointed a new chairman, Sir Brian Inglis. He replaced Alan Skurrie, who had held the office for five years and had an association of more than 55 years with Amcor. Amcors 19891990 annual report recorded expenditure during the five years through June 1990 of A$2 billion on capital equipment and acquisitions. The companys commitment to growth was clear. Yet for all the ambition of the program, funding for Amcors investments came principally from internal cash flow, as well as from the sale of assets and some borrowing. The program was financially conservative.

It was at that time that Sunclipse Incorporated was acquired, which was a California-based corrugated box manufacturer and distributor of packaging products. Amcor Packaging (Europe) Ltd. was another development, constituting Amcors first direct investment in the United Kingdoma corrugated box plant on a greenfield site in Cambridgeshire. A 49 percent share in SACOC, a French corrugated box manufacturer, was also acquired near the turn of the decade.

The 1990s and Beyond

After setting out to diversify in the 1980s, paper accounted for only 19 percent of Amcors 1990 sales, compared with 57 percent a decade earlier. Much of this diversification was achieved through acquisitions, which typified almost all of the companys activity in the 1980s and 1990s. In June 1990 Amcor Fibre Packaging was formed to manage the groups international corrugated box manufacturing and related activities. It included APM Packaging, Kiwi Packaging, Sunclipse, Amcor Packaging (Europe), SACOC, and Anfor. At that time, in total, it had the capacity to manufacture almost one million tons per year of corrugated products, accounting for more than half of the capacity of others outside Australia.

The following year, Amcors Containers Packaging subsidiary added New Zealand Can Ltd. to its holdings for A$45 million. Amcor also purchased an eventual 42 percent stake in Spicers Paper Ltd., an Australian stationary producer, and a 49 percent portion of Willander Holdings, another corrugated box manufacturer that was stationed in the United Kingdom.

1993 saw Amcor make moves to consolidate its rapidly expanding holdings into three main divisions. Its Containers Packaging division was mainly responsible for the production of plastic and metal containers for food packaging; Amcor Fibre Packaging dealt with the companys corrugated cardboard products; and the Amcor Paper Group division was responsible for the manufacture of paper, stationary, paperboard, and coated paper products. In the wake of numerous acquisitions that year, Amcor also began to sell off operations that either deviated from the above categories, or that were generally unprofitable. Divestitures included the companys games division (including Amcors rights to Scrabble), Amidale Industries Ltd./Croxley Collins Olympic N.Z., and Petersen Contact Stationers. Amcor also purchased almost 20 new holdings in 1993 and 1994.

In 1994, Amcor also began operations at a new paper mill in Prewitt, New Mexico in the United States. This mill, dubbed the McKinley Paper Company, was constructed to be a cost-effective operation and was strategically positioned to service the market in Southern California and surrounding areas. The McKinley location immediately received high accolades from Amcors top Australian-based executives due to its high-quality production and efficient operations, as well as to its intelligent geographic placement and ability to serve the surrounding market.

Internationally, Amcor continued its expansion-through-acquisitions plan, making 12 substantial purchases and selling 4 of its holdings in 1995. The company increased its revenue that year by over A$1 billion from its 1994 figures. Activity in 1996 followed suit, as the company again consolidated its holdings with new purchases and the divestiture of inconsistent and unprofitable operations.

Entering the end of the century, Amcor was positioning itself for continued future success. Major challenges facing the company would be the ability to adapt to vastly increasing public awareness of environmental issues, and also the ability to continue its trend of becoming even more competitive at the international level. Amcors focus on the second goal was obvious, however, after the company had spent almost the entire span of the 1990s acquiring holdings on a global level that would help position it for growth and success.

Principal Subsidiaries

Amcor Plantations Pty. Ltd.; Australian Paper Ltd.; Amcor Insurances Pte. Ltd.; Amcor Investments Pty. Ltd.; Anneckum Pty. Ltd. (93%); Brown & Dureau Pty. Ltd.; Brown & Dureau Building Materials Pty. Ltd.; Cellulose Australia Ltd.; Containers Pty. Ltd.; Australian Paper Chase Pty. Ltd.; Mary vale Project Leasing Pty. Ltd.; Micabank Pty. Ltd.; Multix Pty. Ltd.; Advance Packaging Pty. Ltd. (46%); Amcor Trading (Japan) Ltd. (49%); CapVision International Co. Ltd. (HK) (50%); Kimberly-Clark Australia Pty. Ltd. (50%); Pinegro Products Pty. Ltd. (50%); Rota Die International Pty. Ltd. (49%); S.G. Sociedade Grafica, S.A. (36%); Spicers Paper Ltd. (42%); Zacs Packs Pty. Ltd. (46%).

Principal Divisions

Containers Packaging; Amcor Fibre Packaging; Amcor Paper Group.

Further Reading

Cardboard is Gold in McKinley County, New Mexico Business Journal, October 1994, p. 66.

McKinley Paper Co.: New Mexicos First Mill Will Tap the Lucrative L.A. market, Pulp & Paper, September 1993, p. 72.

Sinclair, E.K., The Spreading Tree: A History of APM and AMCOR 18441989, Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1991.

Mary Scott

updated by Laura E. Whiteley

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Amcor Limited

Amcor Limited

South Gate, South Melbourne
Victoria 3205
Australia
(03) 615 9000
Fax: (03) 614 2924

Public Company
Incorporated:
1926 as Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd.
Employees 16,700
Sales: A$4.50 billion (US$3.48 billion)
Stock Exchange: Associated Australian Stock Exchanges

Amcor Limited is among the top 20 Australian companies with extensive interests in metal, plastic, and paper packaging. Amcor also has substantial interests in pulp and paper and other forest products, in tissue and personal-care markets, and in trading and distribution of paper, packaging, and other products, together with a large investment in Mayne Nickless Ltd., a major Australian transport services and security company.

Its head office is in Victorias capital, Melbourne, with which it has been associated since its earliest days. The groups employees are now spread through 11 countries-Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the Peoples Republic of China, and Papua New Guinea. It is the leader of the Australian packaging industry, is the largest integrated producer of pulp, paper, and other forest products, and is Australias largest private forest plantation owner with 85,000 hectares of land. Amcor adopted its current name in May 1985 and its major period of expansion and acquisition has taken place since that time.

Amcor began as a papermaking businessAustralian Paper Manufacturers (APM). The origins of APMalthough it was not incorporated under this name until many decades later-can be traced back to the 1860s and to some of the earliest of Australias ventures in this field.

In New South Wales and neighboring Victoria the 1860s were years of rapid industrial growth. The gold rushes brought an explosion in populationand thus, of the labor forceas well as rising prosperity, and the introduction in Victoria of a protection policy for manufacturers created a climate in which the number of factories increased. The papermaking industry was no exception to this trend.

In 1864 Murray built the Collingwood mill at Liverpool, New South Wales, for the Australian Paper Company. In Melbourne in 1868 Samuel Ramsden built his own mill and began production with the Number One Paper Machine. Approximately 70 people were employed at it, including about 40 women who spent their days sorting rags. In 1871 William Fieldhouse erected Melbourne Number Two Paper Machine adjacent to Ramsdens mill; the following year Ramsden bought it from him. By 1895 when the Australian Paper Mills Company was formed and registered, it combined mills in Melbourne, Broadford, and Geelong; its capital was A$214,000 and its output approximately 730 tons per year. In 1896 it became the Australian Paper Mills Company Ltd.

Meanwhile, in the New South Wales capital of Sydney, in 1883, John Thomson Brown had begun a business trading in meat, grain, and farming, and household goods, which was to play an important role in APM/Amcors future. In 1885 David Henry Dureau became the businesss Melbourne partner.

Shortly after the new Australian federal government was inaugurated in 1901, it adopted the Victorian policies of protectionism. In the same year the Federal Paper Mills were established at Botany, New South Wales, with their Number One Paper Machine up and running by 1902.

Brown and Dureaus company thrived. It adopted the name Brown & Dureau Ltd. in 1903 and was incorporated in 1910. Over the years, as general commission agents, Brown & Dureau handled a wide range of goods. It was the first exporter of Australian coal to Japan and the United Kingdom and also developed a flourishing export business in iron and steel products, metals, textiles, chemicals, and marine and general food products.

In the 1910s and 1920s Australian Paper Mills Company like the countrys economy as a wholeentered a period of expansion as Australias overseas trade doubled within the first 30 years of the century. In 1920 Australian Paper Mills Company Ltd. amalgamated with Sydney Paper Mills Ltd. to form the Australian Paper and Pulp Company Ltd. in 1926, by amalgamation of Cumberland Paper Board Mills Ltd. with the Australasian Paper and Pulp Company Ltd., the operating company of Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd. (APM) was formedand was to continue to operate under this name, as the pulp and papermaking arm of Amcor, to the present day. The following March, APM Ltd. bought Commonwealth Board Mills and established Austral Waste Products, a waste paper collecting subsidiary at Abbotsford, Victoria, in buildings formerly owned by the Commonwealth Board Mills.

APMs current wood intake is about 50% eucalyptus and 50% pineboth from domestic sources. Between 1900 and 1903 imported wood pulp was first used in Australia at the APMs Barwon paper mill. In 1921 2.5 tons of paper were made from eucalyptus pulp at Botany. In 1936 an agreement was signed between APM Ltd. and the Victorian Forest Commission covering the procurement of wood pulp. On December 23 of that year the Wood Pulp Agreement Act 1936 was passed by the Victorian parliament and led to the establishment of the Mary vale pulp mill. The pilot mill went into semi-commercial production of eucalyptus kraft pulp in March of 1938 and the main mill started commercial production the following year. It is in operation to this day.

The year 1939 saw the outbreak of World War II and of the worst bush fires in Victorias history; APMs mill buildings survived, but almost all of its prime source of pulp wood was destroyed. However, the company found that fire-killed timber could be used for pulping. With the advent of war, imports ceased abruptly, price controls were imposed by the federal government, a wartime profits tax was imposed, and Australian industries were urgently required to provide military equipment and meet defense needs. Within two years, 70% of APMs total production was used directly in the manufacture of munitions and war equipment, and the rest for essential business and consumer uses. During this period, APM proved its strength as an innovator, supplying purified cellulose for the manufacture of smokeless cordite and other propellants for the Allied forces and developing special papers and boards to resist moisture penetration for the troops fighting in tropical regions.

Wartime conditions also prompted APM to increase its self-sufficiency, not only in pulp suppliesin 1938-1939 80% of APMs total pulp requirements were imported, compared to the end of the war, when 80% of raw materials were from local sourcesbut also in fuel; in 1946, the company acquired a controlling interest in Maddingley Brown Coal Pty Ltd. which, with the purchase of further coal-bearing land, soon produced 10,000 tons of coal per week and supplied all of the Victoria mills together with other commercial and public enterprises. Maddingley Brown Coal was eventually sold in 1989.

APM, designated a protected industry by the federal government during the war, nevertheless saw 25% of its work force enlisted, and recruited women to work in the mills. However, despite this and other hardshipssuch as a coal strike in New South Wales and further bush fires in 1944the company managed to continue the expansion of its mills and production grew dramatically from 92,000 tons in 1938, to 124,000 tons in 1941, and to 131,000 tons in 1942. Toward the end of the war, APMs managing director Sir Herbert Gepp set up a Postwar Planning Committee to win back freedom from government control and wartime profit tax, and to prepare a case for reasonable tariff protection against the inevitable resurgence of competitive imports. The committee also discussed APCs future strategy, which was to include the extension and expansion of operations in wrapping paper and board; expansion into converting, through the manufacturing of cartons and containers from APMs paper and board; and the manufacture of allied products such as cellophane and tissues.

The war also resulted in major reorganizations, both financial and administrative; in the development of public relations at APM; and in a new emphasis on industrial relations. The company still had a monopoly on the countrys wrapping paper and board markets and was firmly established in mainland Australia as its largest paper and pulp company. In the 1950s APM made an initial foray into the corrugated packaging industry in which it was later to make significant acquisitions; the history of the packaging arm of the group is primarily a history of takeovers. Before 1940 there were four Australian companies operating in the field. J. Fielding & Co. was the earliest, in 1914 installing the first corrugator at Buckingham Street in Sydney, to produce the corrugating medium for packaging. In 1950 APM bought the first 96-inch corrugator, planning to install it on the Springvale wastepaper recycling site, but instead sold it to Fieldings.

In the 1960s APM extended its interests to the production of other paper products. In 1963 it established in partnership with Kimberly-Clark Corporation of the United States, the jointly owned Kimberly-Clark Australia Ltd., which produced all kinds of tissues.

In the 1970s Brown & Bureau acquired Eastern Tool Company, Lukey Mufflers, and Angus Hill Holdings, which were to form the nucleus of Amcors present-day automotive division. In the 1980s Amcors major acquisitions were Ingram Corporation Ltd. and Edwards Dunlop & Co. Ltd., a paper merchant and stationery manufacturer that went back to 1869. Out of this latter acquisition grew the present merchanting, stationery and designer products division.

In 1975 Stan Wallis became deputy managing director of APM. In 1977 he was appointed managing director. According to a retrospective ten years later in the Financial Times, he was the strategist behind the programmethe program which brought Amcor the strong balance sheet and prudent financial ratios with which it began the 1990s.

From the late 1970s, under Stan Wallis, APM began a process of diversification. One of the most important acquisitions was that of Brown & Dureau in the financial year 1978-1979; this brought Amcor substantial interests in the fields of international trading, automotive, retailing, and aviation.

Over the same period APM acquired first 20% and then 40% of James Hardie Containers, manufacturers of corrugated fiber boxes for packaging food and drink. In 1986 APM bought the balance of James Hardie Containers and an era of rationalization began. During this period plants were acquired from Reed Corrugated Containers, J. Fielding & Co., Tasman U.E.B., United Packages, Corrugated Paper, Fibreboard Containers, Fibre Containers, J. Gadsden Paper Products, Tasmanian Fibre Containers, and Cardboard Containers. In the 1980s APM Packaging established two plants at Smithfield, New South Wales, and at Scoresby, Victoria, and in the financial year 1988-1989 it bought 46% of Universal Containers, Sydney. APM Packaging has more than 25,000 employees in 14 corrugated box plants, as well as supporting sheet plants, and eight distribution centers throughout Australia. During the 1980s Amcors key objectives were to broaden its range of activities, particularly into packaging; to restructure its core pulp and paper businesses and integrate forward into paper converting in Australia; and to commence major overseas expansion.

In the 1980s Stan Wallis embarked on an ambitious program of capital investment in import-substituting plant and in reopening existing plant to supply growing export markets. In 1987 the Financial Times put a figure of A$700 million on the planned investment in plant and machinery. A subsequent sourceAmcors annual report 1989-1990recorded expenditure during the five years to June 1990 of A$2 billion on capital equipment and acquisitions. Yet for all the ambition of the programin terms of valuefunding for Amcors investments came principally from internal cash flow, also from the sale of assets and some borrowing. The program was financially conservative.

In 1982 APM acquired Containers Packagingthe fourth major wholly owned Amcor subsidiary. The same year New Zealand Forest Products (NZFP)that countrys leading forestry groupand Amcor formed a joint venture company with 50% shares each, called Anfor. This was set up to develop a corrugated box plant in Hong Kong, with NZFP supplying liner board and Amcor the corrugating medium to make boxes to be sold to Chinese, South Korean, and Japanese customers. Anfor operates corrugated box plants with local partners in Singapore and Malaysia as well as in Hong Kong. In 1986-1987 Kiwi Packaging, New Zealand, became a wholly owned subsidiary of Amcor and runs five corrugating plants and two sheet plants. In 1989-1990 Sunclipse Incorporated was acquired. This is a California-based corrugated box manufacturer and distributor of packaging products. Amcor Packaging (Europe) Ltd. is one of the most recent developments and constitutes Amcors first direct investment in the United Kingdoma corrugated box plant on a greenfield site in Cambridgeshire which currently employs about 130 people. A 49% share in SACOC, a French corrugated box manufacturer, was also acquired in 1989-1990.

How far Amcor succeeded in its objective of diversification can be judged from Chris Sherwells comment in the Financial Times, January 1987: Some idea of where the company fits into Australian life can be gleaned from a single revealing picture in its latest annual report. It shows a small group enjoying a traditional outdoor barbecue picnic. Practically every item on the tablethe beer and the soft-drink cans, plastic fruit juice bottles, cooler box, salt and pepper containers, bread and cheese wrappers and paper tissuesis an Amcor product.

But not all of Stan Walliss plans were successful. In April 1987 a possible merger between New Zealand Forest Products and Amcor was announced. The proposed merger would cover only the pulp and paper production and marketing of the two companies. It would stop short of a full merger of operations. In August 1987 Amcor received the New Zealand Commerce Commissions decision: the merger would not go ahead.

The principal reason for the commissions rejection was that the proposed new entity would have a virtual monopoly of the manufacture and import of kraft paper and paperboard in New Zealand. The same obstacle did not impede Fletcher Challenge, Amcors main domestic rival. Amcor promptly sold its 11% stake in NZFP to the Rada Corporation as a defense, some thought, against a Fletcher Challenge takeover.

Amcor, under Stan Wallis, turned its eyes to offshore investment opportunities. In 1988, the year following the failed merger with NZFP, the group announced it was concentrating on overseas business expansion; as evidence it switched Don B. Macfarlane to the newly created post of general manager of international business development.

According to Amcor, the creation of Macfarlanes new post signified its commitment to a structured and systematic approach to expansion outside Australia. He was to report directly to Stan Wallis.

In June 1989 Amcor bought Twinpak, the largest plastics containers producer in Canada with 13 plants spread across the country. The acquisition accounted for a significant proportion of the 32% increase in containers packaging sales in the financial year 1989-1990.

In June 1990 Amcor Fibre Packaging was formed to manage the groups international corrugated box manufacturing and related activities. It includes APM Packaging, Kiwi Packaging, Sunclipse, Amcor Packaging (Europe), SACOC, and Anfor. In total it has the capacity to manufacture almost one million tons per year of corrugated products, more than half of which capacity is outside Australia.

In 1989 Amcor appointed a new chairman, Sir Brian Inglis. He replaced Alan Skurrie, who had held the office for five years and had an association of more than 55 years with Amcor.

Amcor set out to diversify in the 1980s. By 1990, paper the business in which the groups origins layaccounted for only 19% of sales compared with 57% a decade earlier.

Amcors major challenges for the future are to become more internationally competitive and to adapt to vastly increased public awareness on environmental issues. Although they have already made great strides on the first objective, the withdrawal of incentives such as accelerated depreciation and investment allowances are likely to make the task harder in the futureespecially in a climate of reduced tariff protection, high interest rates and a high exchange rate. The company is well aware of the importance of environmental issues.

Principal Subsidiaries

Australian Paper Manufacturers; Containers Packaging; Amcor Fibre Packaging; Brown and Dureau Ltd.; Transpak Industries Ltd.; Willander Holdings Ltd. (49%); Spicers Paper Ltd. (18.7%); National Paper Vuepack Ltd.; New Zealand Corp. Ltd.

Further Reading

Sinclair, E.K., The Spreading Tree: A History of APM and AMCOR 1844-1989, Sydney, Allen & Un-win, 1991.

Mary Scott

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"Amcor Limited." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Amcor Limited." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/amcor-limited

"Amcor Limited." International Directory of Company Histories. . Retrieved December 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/amcor-limited