Huhtamaki Americas doesn't have customers eating out of its hands, but it does make the packaging to serve up dinner. The company manufactures sturdy, disposable tableware and food packaging, as well as shaped paperboard, plastic, and molded fiber plates, cups, bowls, and trays under the Chinet brand for foodservice customers and consumers. Huhtamaki Americas also supplies flexible packaging products for goods such as baking and snack foods, detergents, personal care, electronics, and pet foods. Product extensions include dinner napkins and guest towels. The company operates a dozen plus facilities in North America and Mexico, and is the regional headquarters for Finland's global packaging giant Huhtamäki Oyj.
Huhtamaki Americas generates more than one-quarter of its parent company's consolidated revenues. Thanks to favorable currency exchange rates, revenues attributable to the Americas unit increased slightly in 2010 over 2009. Year-over-year earnings, however, decreased 18%, eroded by declining demand from both retail packaging and consumer goods customers hurt by a down market.
Sales are also a reflection of a competitive industry that sues at the drop of a cup. In spring 2010 the company prevailed against charges by Dixie Consumer Products, part of Georgia-Pacific, that Huhtamaki Americas had copied the design style of its insulated cup used for hot drinks. A judge tossed out the lawsuit, ruling that the white band around the Chinet cup's bottom was not an aesthetic choice but a functional move intended to cut the cost of insulating materials. – less