Cigarette carton printers will likely suffer a hit in revenue as the High Court rejected a challenge to the Government’s proposed plain packaging legislation, which is due to come into effect on December 1.
At present cigarette cartons are amongst the most value added pieces of print around, with a host of embellishments added, as they have become the primary advertising method for cigarette companies who are banned form advertising virtually everywhere else.
However under the proposed legislation – the first in the world – all the packs will have to have the same olive green colour, with no branding. Large graphic health warnings will appear on packs and the manufacturers’ brand names will be written in a small generic font.
In 2011 Australian smokers lit up some 19 billion cigarettes, which equates to roughly half a billion cigarette cartons. While volumes are not expected to drop significantly in the short term the elimination of embellishments will hit print revenue.
The printers of those cartons have invested millions over the years in highly sophisticated top of the range multi-unit presses, which for the ciggie market at least will now become surplus to requirements. Print companies in the market include Amcor, AEP and Anzpak.
For instance Anzpak in Smithfield, NSW, which is now owned by a Singapore outfit, has the country’s longest KBA press, with numerous print units, coat units and inline features.
No cigarette carton printer was prepared to speak to Australian Printer about the implications of the High Court ruling as news came through, although clearly it has been on the cards for some time, and most printers would have been diversifying for some time.
The legislation is aimed at preventing teenagers for starting to smoke by making it seem as unappealing as possible. Australia is ranked 41 in the world in cigarette consumption per capita with 1,130 cigarettes consumed per adult per year.