If, despite the financial crisis, a medium-sized label converter manages to increase sales by 6 percent in 2008-2009 and keep them at the same level this year, maybe that company has found a few lucrative niche markets. This appears to be the case for Imprimerie Georges Paris (IGP) in Nuits-Saint-Georges, in the French wine-growing region of Burgundy.
The company was founded in 1922, when Georges Paris set up his Lithographic and Letterpress Label Company to provide growers and vintners of Burgundy's grands crus with bespoke labels destined to grace the bottles that graced the tables of Europe's elite. This was the beginning of the golden age of Burgundy, and Paris soon found that he could turn an honest franc or two by making labels for the local vin de table as well.
We move forward to 1970, when the business was acquired by the present owners, Regis Pauck and his brother Noel. They set about modernizing the company's offset presses and finishing equipment to meet the existing and future quality requirements of the label market. This investment policy culminated in the purchase, in 2009 and 2010, of a second automated finishing line from Polar and another MAN Roland 700 sheet offset press with six colors plus varnish.
"If we've been able to survive the economic crisis of the past two years without losing too many feathers," says Regis Pauck, "it's partly due to our policy of diversification, and partly due to finding new export markets. The wine label is still an important market for us, but over the last 10 years we have significantly expanded our business in labels for beer and soft drinks, as well as for a range of food products. As for our export business, we now have customers in Belgium, Switzerland and throughout Africa, where the production of bottled water and soft drinks far outstrips the capacity of local converters to supply labels."
The decision to diversify was partly due to the fact that the local wine growers, cooperatives and commercial wineries have been turning increasingly to self-adhesive labels. IPG has preferred to remain faithful to the sheetfed offset label business, which is where its technical expertise lies. "When our customers ask for pressure sensitives or filmic labels, we subcontract to a small number of local partners who specialize in these areas," says Pauck.
However, within the specialized field of sheetfed offset paper labels, IGP can do almost anything. The company has installed a PECOM CIP3 software...