The ongoing trend towards consolidation shows little sign of slowing down. Indeed, one would be forgiven for believing that it had speeded up with the information this week that two more big companies are about to be swallowed up.

If the news that VAW Packaging [FlexPac] had fallen into the jaws of Alcan for e345M was earth shattering then the discovery that a truly British Institution – Willett – was to fall into American hands was mind blowing.

Remember Willett? That was the company that twice received the Queen’s Award for Export – in 1989 and 1994. What has happened to this famous company?

Most companies are struggling in one way or another – both large and small – to maintain levels of profitability that they have been used to in better times.

And yet the Chancellor predicts a GDP growth of 2.5-3% next year which most of us in the packaging industry believe is far too optimistic when we see no sign of an upturn in our industry.

Many are also disappointed that the Chancellor announced no extension of capital allowances to stimulate much needed investment in equipment.

This may well be a depressing note to end the year on but it is an unfortunate fact of life.

The most constructive approach one can take is to reconsider a thought sown in a former leader of mine – perhaps it is time to work together to find ways to profit together before profiting independently.