Few people, even in France, know that the second biggest "instant game" lottery in the world is French. The Franfaise des Jeux (FDJ) is a government-controlled quasi-monopoly which also runs betting and a host of other gaming-related activities. It is huge, with 2013 sales just shy of $14 billion, issuing countless billions of scratch cards and tickets. The surprising thing is that despite the fact that France has several world-leading security printers, and despite the unsporting tendency of Frenchmen to buy from other Frenchmen, FDJ has this year signed a three-year contract with New-York based Scientific Games Corp. The actual security printing is being done by US and Canadian print houses, and though the size of the contract has not been disclosed, it must be enough to make any printer drool.
Emballage Paris is as close as France gets to an international packaging show. This year's event, from November 17-20, promises to bring together 1,500 exhibitors, of which more than half are from outside France, and around 100,000 visitors. For label professionals, the two hot spots at the show will be digital press manufacturers (Domino, Epson, HP Indigo, etc.) and label converters. The converters range from Reynders, one of Europe's market leaders, to Braizat Etiquettes, a small but imaginative producer of short-run labels with just four employees. Also exhibiting at the show in Paris will be the French label association UNFEA, which will use the show to award the prizes in its Label Grand Prix.
Somali news should not have its place in a column about Europe. However, since L&NW has not yet appointed a Horn of Africa correspondent, here is a piece of good news you may not have heard, from the desk of Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim, the Somali Minister of Posts and Telecommunication. His is probably the second-worst ministerial job in the world (the worst being the Iraqi Minister for Tourism). Despite the poverty of his war-ravaged country, Ibrahim has plans to revolutionize the postal and telecommunications services, at least in those areas under government control. Citizens will soon be able to buy postage stamps, send parcels and swipe QR codes. All this could take a while, but give the Minister top marks for initiative--and for optimism.
FROM KYOTO TO SAXONY
You noticed how few Japanese equipment manufacturers there used to be in the label business? The country that until recently boasted the world's second biggest...