As many of you gear up to attend the annual milestone of Paperworld in Frankfurt, 2011 is already fading into a distant memory. In this first European Office Products Annual Review we will take you back over the past year’s major developments, and provide some thought on what we might expect in the coming 12 months. Take Unipapel’s successful acquisition of Spicers, for example, and the subsequent spin-off of the UK & Ireland business: what will this mean for the rest of the industry?
But while January rushes by, most of us are still being hotly pursued by last year’s chaos – the ongoing eurozone debt crisis, rising unemployment rates and global credit jams. As one journalist recently wrote on guardian.co.uk, “can we find a glass half full of something vaguely cheering, or are we staring at the dregs in the new year?”
I would argue that there is always a bright side, however hard it might be to focus upon. Many reports highlighted how European markets opened on 3 January slightly up, and while the crisis is far from over – some areas are likely to get worse – it does bring opportunities such as those highlighted in the last issue of OPI.
If you are reading this publication in the halls of Messe Frankfurt, or perhaps on the train or aeroplane while you make your way there, consider all the new product innovations you might discover or business partnerships you could create during the show. The subject of this publication’s Big Interview Richard Scharmann of PBS Holding, speaks of mergers and acquisitions across Europe; surely this subject opens up possibilities for some?
Remaining cheerful, the annual European Office Products Awards (EOPA) certainly provide space for celebration, and highlight people, products and businesses as shining examples of good practice. The EOPA awards dinner is often a welcome and entertaining relief to the back-to-back appointments and working lunches that Paperworld provides.
I will once again be wearing my feet out in the halls of the Messe, so come and say hello at the OPI booth. I look forward to seeing you there!