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There is not much anyone can teach Phillip Abelheim about the packaging industry. It’s a game in which he has been involved for more than 40 years, 39 of them as CEO of Transpaco. As CEO of the small-cap flexible plastics, paper and board packaging group, Abelheim has always followed a simple business model. "We have never moved into the high end of the market," he says. "We have also built a phenomenal management team and bought good businesses." Transpaco’s product range is undeniably basic. Its plastics division’s products include refuse bags, bin liners, carrier bags and pallet wrap, while the paper and board division produces the likes of boxes, cardboard cores and paper bags. It’s dull, perhaps, but it is a product line-up providing Transpaco with solid resilience at a time when its far larger listed peers, Nampak and Mpact, are trundling in less-than-impressive results. In its year to June, Transpaco raced home, lifting headline EPS (HEPS) by 36% and its annual dividend by 39...

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