AR Packaging boosts British pharma presence in post-Brexit Firstan Holdings swoop


Sweden-based AR Packaging is strengthening its position in the UK with the acquisition of Firstan Holdings, a pharmaceutical packaging business. The move empowers AR Packaging’s position as a leading provider of folding cartons, flexibles and fiber-based containers in post-Brexit UK.

The news comes amid a strategic drive from AR Packaging to grow its business within specific segments and geographies, says the company. 

The group already holds a strong position as a specialist in flexible barrier materials and carton-based containers in the UK market. 

The acquisition of Firstan will add local manufacturing facilities for folding cartons, thereby enabling a wide offering of multicategory packaging capabilities, principally to the food and healthcare markets. 

Fristan currently produces a broad range of packaging solutions for F&B and pharmaceutical companies in the UK and recently won the WorldStar Award in the food category for its curry kit, created for M&S supermarkets.

A new British chapter

Firstan and AR Packaging are celebrating the acquisition as a major advancement in the UK packaging sector. 

“This addition is of significant strategic importance to strengthen our position on the UK market”, says Harald Schulz, CEO and president of AR Packaging. 

“Together with our existing two plants in the UK, Firstan provides an excellent platform for further growth in this important and fast-moving market.” 

AR Packaging already owns a manufacturing site in Rotherham, UK, where it produces paper cups, lids and tubes for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) services. 

Firstan’s factory, located in Cambridgeshire, is a streamlined production facility with “best in class machinery and operating systems.”

Firstan produces over 500 million carton packages annually and employs 140 workers dedicated to design and manufacturing.

AR Packaging will utilize Firstan’s production of millions of cardboard packages for the pharma and food industries.

Continued sustainability drive 

AR Packaging’s UK market expansion follows a stream of developments aimed at improving the environmental sustainability credentials of its products and manufacturing processes in Europe. 

In 2019, AR Packaging purchased all outstanding shares in two medical and beauty product companies in Germany and Switzerland in an effort to deepen its footprint in the central European market. 

Last year, AR Packaging introduced a plastic-eliminating paper-based solution called Safeboard that was adopted by Bel Group for its Boursin flavored cream cheeses. 

Bel Group sought a solution that could remove the plastic coating on its cartonboard packaging to reach a target of 100 percent recyclable packaging by 2025. 

Furthermore, AR Packaging joined the PulPac Technology Pool, aiming to be first-to-market with 3D dry molded cellulose trays and cutlery for food. Ahead of the EU’s Single-Use Plastic Directive, the company is providing expert advice to PulPac on developing its dry molded fiber for mass production.



10 July, 2019