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Bunzl plc
Public limited company
Traded as LSE: BNZL
Industry Distribution and outsourcing
Founded 1854 (1854)
(Pozsony, Hungary)[1]
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Key people
Philip Rogerson (Chairman)
Michael Roney (CEO)
Products Distribution of catering equipment, cleaning products, paper and plastic packaging, food processing equipment, medical gloves and disposable hygiene products, personal protective equipment, vending machine supplies
Revenue £6,156.5 million(2014)[2]
£341.8 million (2014)[2]
Profit £210.7 million (2014)[2]
Number of employees
14,609 (2014)[2]
Website .com.bunzlwww

Bunzl plc is a multinational distribution and outsourcing company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. The company is primarily a distributor of a diverse range of non-food consumable products including food packaging, cleaning and hygiene supplies, personal protective equipment and carrier bags. Its customers include contract cleaners, retailers, catering firms and food processors. Bunzl has operations in 23 countries: almost half of its business is conducted in North America, with major operations in Europe as well as a smaller presence in Australasia and Brazil.

The activities of the company have changed a number of times during its existence, frequently incorporating the disparate business interests of the founding Bunzl family, which trace their history back to a haberdashery opened in Pozsony in 1854. The current company was established in London in 1940 as a manufacturer of cigarette filters, crêpe and tissue paper, and the production of fibres, pulp, paper, building materials and plastics were all brought into the firm - and subsequently sold - over the following decades. Bunzl restructured itself as a company purely focused on distribution through a divestment process which began in the early 1990s and ended with the 2005 spin out of Filtrona.

Bunzl has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1957 and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


  • History 1
    • 1854 - 1938 1.1
    • 1940 - 1957 1.2
    • 1957 - 1980: Public listing and diversification 1.3
    • 1980 onwards: distribution 1.4
  • Operations 2
    • Sectors 2.1
    • Countries of operation 2.2
  • Corporate affairs 3
    • Financial information 3.1
    • Major shareholders 3.2
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


1854 - 1938

In 1854, Moritz Bunzl registered haberdashery Emanuel Biach's Eidam in Pozsony - then part of the Habsburg Monarchy, now part of Slovakia. In 1883, his 3 sons, Max Bunzl, Ludwig Bunzl and Julius Bunzl, changed the name of the company to Bunzl & Biach AG, and moved the headquarters to Vienna, Austria.

From 1888 they began manufacturing paper in Ortmann, and then at Wattens paper mill. From 1925 Hungarian inventor Boris Aivaz, who had patented the process of making cigarette filters from crepe paper, with some variants including cellulose wadding, experimented at the Ortmann plant. Aivaz produced the first cigarette filter from 1927 in co-operation with Bunzl's Filtronic subsidiary, but up take was low due to a lack of machinery to produce cigarettes with the filtered tip.[3]

From 1935, a British company began producing a machine to make cigarettes that incorporated the filter tip, and so the Bunzl family developed their British interests. Following the Anschluss in 1938, with many Jewish assets and companies seized by the Nazi regime,[4] the Bunzl family emigrated from Austria. While some moved to the United States and Switzerland, the majority settled in England to develop their small British operation.[5]

1940 - 1957

The company now known as Bunzl was established in the UK in 1940 by Austrian

  • Official site
  • Google Finance profile

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See also

At 22 February 2010, four institutions held a stake of three percent or greater in Bunzl: Invesco (11.9%), Aviva (6.3%), Legal & General (4.0%) and Newton Investment Management (4.0%).[20]

Major shareholders

A Accounts prepared according to International Financial Reporting Standards.
B C Accounts prepared according to United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
Bunzl plc financial results.[2]
Year ended Revenue (£ million) Profit/(loss) before tax (£m) Net profit (£m) Earnings per share (p)
2014 6,157 299.8 210.7 64.5
2013 6,098 332.1 206.8 63.5
2012 5,359 293.8 191.3 58.7
2011 5,110 193.7 123.8 38.2
2010 4,830 225.2 159.0 49.1
2009 4,649 257.8 148.9 46.4
2008 4,177 206.9 142.2 44.5
2007 3,582 191.1 130.1 39.8
2006 3,333 189.7 129.4 37.8
2005 2,924 176.7 124.2 35.4
2004[A] 2,438 158.2 141.4 30.7
2004[B] 2,438 200.9 127.4 28.7
2003[C] 2,276 194.6 124.6 27.4

Financial information

Corporate affairs

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • Puerto Rico
  • Romania[19]
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • The Netherlands
  • UK
  • USA
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Argentina

Countries of operation

  • Catering equipment
  • Contract cleaning
  • Convenience stores
  • Food processors
  • Healthcare
  • Hotel & catering
  • Redistributors
  • Retail
  • Safety
  • Vending


Bunzl's largest two markets, generating over half of total business between them, are foodservice and food retail companies. Products distributed include machinery and safety and hygiene equipment for food processors[11] and chemicals, packaging and disposable tableware for caterers and retailers.[12][13] The company's other markets include cleaning and safety, where personal protective equipment, cleaning machinery and first aid kits are supplied,[14][15] and convenience stores, to which carrier bags, point of sale displays and packaging and labelling are amongst the major products distributed.[16] In North America, Bunzl is also a major wholesaler of foodservice and janitorial products,[17] and in the UK the company provides the supply and maintenance of vending machines.[18]

The company divides itself geographically into four business units: North America is the largest, followed by the UK and Ireland, Continental Europe and the rest of the world (principally Australasia).

A Bunzl distribution lorry.


On September 17th, 2015 Bunzl purchased PlanetClean.

In 2006 Bunzl purchased Keenpac [10] for an undisclosed amount. Keenpac, founded in 1979, sources luxury paper-based packaging, high-density polythene bags and jewellery boxes. Its principal markets are the UK and USA but it also sells and distributes retail packaging in France, Italy, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Australia and Japan. Keenpac also provides logistical support and stock management services.

Bunzl's last link with the paper industry was severed in 2002 with the sale of its fine paper distribution arm.[5] This left the company with just two remaining business divisions: Outsourcing Services and Filtrona (encompassing fibres, cigarette filters and plastics).[5] Three years later, Filtrona was spun off as a stand-alone entity, leaving Bunzl with just its distribution business.[8] The same year, former Goodyear Dunlop executive Michael Roney was appointed CEO, with Habgood becoming Chairman.[9]

The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the outsourcing and distribution businesses in the US, Europe and Australia expanded, particularly in the area of disposable food packaging.[4] This growth helped the company enter the FTSE 100 for the first time in October 1986, replacing financial services group British & Commonwealth Holdings.[6] At the same time, the company sold off a number of non-core and underperforming assets, a process accelerated under the guidance of Anthony Habgood, who replaced White as CEO in 1991. Foodservice, paper merchanting and building material supply businesses were all divested by 1994.[4] The company's plastics and fibres interests were also consolidated with the purchase of American Filtrona, the company originally established by the Bunzl family, for $178 million in 1997.[7]

At the beginning of the 1980s, the company embarked upon a new strategy to arrest a decline in its fortunes. A new chief executive, James White, was installed,[4] and Bunzl & Biach AG and its associated paper mills were sold only a decade after becoming a part of the company.[5] Bunzl began to move into the distribution sector by acquisition, beginning with the American plastic and paper products reseller Jersey Paper in 1981.[5] Other business lines established included package delivery and foodservice.[4]

1980 onwards: distribution

In 1970 the original Austrian business Bunzl & Biach was acquired, meaning that the company was now involved in the manufacture of paper for the first time, and adhesive tape and plastics divisions were also established later in the decade.[5] The strategy failed to stem declining profits in the long term, which were exacerbated by a smaller cigarette filter market as tobacco companies began to manufacture them in-house.[4] A foray into data processing services also proved particularly unsuccessful, losing money for the company.[4]

The company floated around 30% of its shares on the London Stock Exchange in 1957, with the Bunzl family retaining a majority stake for another decade. As the growth in uptake of filter cigarettes began to tail off at the end of the 1960s, the firm's profits followed, experiencing their first fall as a publicly traded company in 1969.[4] Around the same time, Bunzl Pulp & Paper's position in the cigarette filter market was investigated by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission at the request of Courtaulds, which Bunzl had recently dropped as its supplier of cellulose acetate.[4] Although ultimately Bunzl was found to have held but not abused a monopolistic position, the company determined to diversify its products to revive profit growth.[4]

1957 - 1980: Public listing and diversification

International expansion followed throughout the 1950s: a filter production factory was opened in South Africa, while a separately-run company named American Filtrona was set up in the United States in 1954.[5] Use of cigarette filters increased markedly in the 1950s as links between smoking and cancer were established, and Bunzl soon became the exclusive supplier to both Imperial Tobacco and Gallaher Group.[4] Between 1956 and 1964, Bunzl's production of filters increased by a factor of twelve.[4]

[4] in 1952.Bunzl Pulp & Paper Ltd. products and as a result changed its name to pulp Although the two companies were not merged at this time, Tissue Papers Ltd. became the international distributor of Bunzl & Biach's paper and [5], when the family reclaimed its assets in Austria.World War II The firm did not begin to grow substantially until after [4].crêpe paper which adopted a similar line of business, manufacturing filters along with tissue and [5]

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