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Cork and synthetic bullish about performance

Nomacorc, the synthetic closure manufacturer, has announced 'record sales' for the first half of 2011 - while the natural cork industry is equally positive.

It has posted 10% year-on-year growth for the first two quarters of 2011, adding to ‘double digit growth in ten out of the last 11 years,’ Nomacorc says.

According to Nielsen, the US company supplies closures for 51% of the top 100 wines sold by volume in the US, with an overall market share of 40%.

Nomacorc CEO Lars von Kantzow said, ‘A number of factors are supporting our business growth in 2011: the strength and growth of brands using Nomacorc, geographic expansion of our product offerings, and industry consolidation.’

Meanwhile the Portuguese Cork Association (Apcor), representing the natural cork industry, is equally bullish about its performance over the last year.

It has also announced a 10% year-on-year growth in sales for the first six months of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010.

And in July it announced an increase of 19.4% in export volumes in 2010, ‘following several years of gradual decline’, it said in a press release.

Amorim, which at 3bn closures sold worldwide is the largest of the natural cork producers, said it registered a 22% growth in sales volume in the US, ‘another sales record in the key New World market’.

It also claims major successes within the top 100 wines by volume in the US: according to Nielsen and the Cork Quality Council – a nonprofit organisation sponsored by wine cork suppliers – ‘wines in the Top 100 [those above US$6] that use cork consistently showing higher sales volumes and greater revenue growth than wines sealed with alternative closures’.

According to the accepted figures, natural cork seals some 70% of the 16bn bottles of wine sold worldwide annually.

Alternative closures – screwcap and synthetic corks – make up the other 30% but there is some debate over the breakdown between screwcap and synthetic.

Depending on sources, screwcap accounts for either a third or just over half (17%) of the alternative closure market, while synthetic closures take between 13% and 20%.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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