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Printing & Packaging Industry in Lublin On The Rise

Last month we celebrated the grand opening of Elpes’s modern manufacturing plant in Lublin, which specializes in the production of laminate tubes mainly for the cosmetics industry. Thus, the new investor joined an ever-growing group of companies from printing and packaging industry which chose Lublin as a place of the operations. As of today, there are 7 companies, out of which 4 have been located in the Lublin Sub-Zone of the Special Economic Zone Euro-Park Mielec in the last 11 years. The level of investment expenditures only in SEZ amounted to over PLN 667 million and the employment reached 460 of newly created jobs. 

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When looking at this notably growing trend, it can be said that the printing and packaging industry in Lublin is beginning to play a significant role in economic development of our city.

It would be difficult to indicate another industry sector that would depend so much on the economic situation of other sectors and vice versa, packaging is indispensible for cosmetics, pharmaceutical, clothing and other industries.

The printing and packaging business in Lublin boasts state-of-the-art means of production and the latest technology, and so is Intrograf - Lublin S.A. company, one of the most modern production facilities of pharmaceutical leaflets and cartons for the pharmaceutical industry in Europe. In 2018, the company invested PLN 25 million in new machines to increase the plant's output. Annually, over half a billion cartons and half a billion pharmaceutical leaflets leave the Lublin's site. Intrograf's products reach clients both in Poland and abroad (mainly in Germany, Ireland, Sweden and the Czech Republic), while its factory has been located in the economic sub-zone in the Felin district since 2014 employing over 220 people.

Another company representing printing & packaging industry in Lublin is Essentra. The company provides innovative primary and secondary packaging and on-pack security solutions across a range of industries. It is a global company delivering packaging solutions i.a. to beauty, healthcare, consumer goods and tobacco industries. The production plant of Essentra Packaging Sp. z o.o. in Lublin primarily caters for the needs of beauty & personal care industry.

One of the key industries in Lublin is the food sector which cannot exist without packaging. For example, STOCK Polska, a leading spirits manufacturer from Lublin is a customer of the Publishing House El-Press Sp. j. The company delivers packaging products made of materials approved for food contact. From its beginning in 1994, El-Press operates in the business related to print finishing including lamination and UV coating. In 2011, the company moved to a modern production facility located in the Lublin sub-zone, one of the best equipped sites dedicated to the production of print finishing in Poland. El-Press delivers cardboard gift boxes as well as promotional and advertising prints.

Another company specialized in providing solutions to the food sector is EMBE-Press, which applies flexo printing technologies to produce labels and packaging materials, including adhesive foils, shrink sleeves, aluminum lids, PET, metalized and transparent and many other. When you open a yoghurt or a box of chocolates, there is a big chance you hold in your hands a printed packaging product produced in the company’s Lublin facility.

A very narrow, but technologically advanced and highly precise is the specialization of the production plant Ball Packaging Europe Lublin Sp. z o.o., a manufacturer of ends for beverage cans. The production plant was established in 2008 and, what's interesting, it was the first investment in the economic sub-zone in Lublin. However, the production started a little bit later, in 2015. The facility started with 60 people at that time and over the last few years the employment have more than tripled.

There are also local SMEs operating in the printing & packaging industry on the Lublin market, such as Tekmar, a manufacturer of cardboard and cardboard packaging (boxes and cartons, also printed) for the food, cosmetics and chemical industries. With financial support from EU funds, the company has invested over PLN 900,000 in a modern machine park for the implementation of innovative solutions and improving its competitiveness.

The trend of rapid development of the printing and packaging industry in Lublin reflects the situation of the industry in Poland.

Polish printing industry is a power. We create the largest market in Europe. Export is one of the key drivers. (…) Polish product has a very good reputation on the European market. - said Jerzy Kwieciński, Minister of Investment and Economic Development in the seventh edition of the Report “Printing Industry and Printed Packaging Market in Poland” (2018) carried out by the Polish Guild of Gutenberg Knights in cooperation with KMPG in Poland and the Faculty of Journalism, Information and Book Studies of the University of Warsaw.

The figures presented in the report clearly indicate, where this optimism comes from. Poland remains the largest in its sector in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of revenue and employment numbers, accounting for 36% of the sector revenues in the region which amounted to EUR 9.1 billion in 2015, according to Eurostat. The volume of production sold of the printing industry is growing. The predicted value of production sold for 2018 is PLN 16.1 billion, which would correspond to a 4.4% growth y/y. It is notable that export plays an important role in maintaining the growth trend in the Polish printing industry.

The high quality of products and services together with relatively low labor costs enable Polish printing businesses to successfully compete on the international market. This is i.a. due to EU funds that have supported companies' investments over the years. Currently, the situation is changing. In the new EU perspective the budget will be reduced, which means that the level of investment in machinery and technology may drop.

Another and perhaps the biggest challenge for this industry is the education system.  According to the report, the companies were very critical about the level of education of the printing sector’s employees. 90% of the surveyed enterprises complained that the industry was struggling with a shortage of properly educated specialists. Furthermore, only 6% of the respondents believed that the vocational education system was able to supply the sector with qualified professionals, and admitted that the best employees were either to be found on the labor market, or trained internally. Nevertheless, optimism dominates among the employers, and experts predict a further, though slightly less dynamic growth for over the next two years.

Undoubtedly, the growing number of enterprises from the printing & packaging industry in Lublin is a good sign for the city's economy. However, there is still room for new investments in the city in this thriving sector characterized by the substantial potential for innovation.

Łukasz Goś, Director of Investor Relations Office concludes:

„At the stage when the Lublin Development Strategy for the years 2013-2020 was being prepared, the printing & packaging industry wasn’t considered as one of the key or complementary specializations of the city like the food or pharmaceutical industry. However, taking the rapid development of the sector and the recent reinvestments of EMBE-Press or Intrograf into consideration, it can be concluded, that as an innovative and creative industry providing solutions for various industries, the printing & packaging sector in Lublin is coming to the fore and can be an important driver of city’s prosperity in the future.”

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