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Can production shines through economic gloom

The full year figures released by the Beverage Can Makers of Europe point to another good performance for beverage cans in 2011, with cans shipped up by as much as 5%. The results come against the backdrop of an economic outlook in the region that remains uncertain. In comparison, Beverage research agency Canadean’s latest forecast suggest that European beer and soft drinks volumes will have edged forward by just 2% last year. The beverage can is therefore outperforming the market.

Of particular note in Europe is the marked rise in soft drink cans shipped, which saw a 7% jump on last year’s figures. In only several markets did cans shipped fail to rise and in some cases growth rates were very strong. In the Netherlands, for example, soft drink can shipments expanded by as much as a fifth, while in the region’s biggest soft drinks can market, the UK, sales were up by nearly 6%.

The contribution of energy drinks to the figures can be seen from the buoyant unit rises in Austria and Switzerland, the Netherlands, Poland and Hungary. The success of energy drinks is an important factor behind the rise in can shipments in Europe but is by no means the only driver. Progress is being driven by both producer and consumer alike.

The results for beer, although not so vibrant as soft drinks, remain upwards and registered a rise of between 3 and 4% last year. West Europe saw an uplift in beer cans shipped last year of 2% but it is East Europe which is amplifying the overall regional results with an impressive 7% rise. Can makers now enter 2012 in good shape. Commenting on the new statistics, BCME Marketing Committee Chairman Welf Jung said: "Despite the economic uncertainties in Europe, the development of cans in 2011 had been strong and cans were able to grow their share in the pack mix for beverage packaging."

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