I have been watching PCA for a while and I've considered adding it to my dividend portfolio. I like this industry, and let's face it, just about everything we buy comes in some type of packaging. Just out of curiousity, for several months now I have been looking at the manufacturer's seal on the bottom of boxes and store displays (call me boring), and I don't think I have ever seen a PCA seal. Most seem to be made by "mom & pop" shops that I have never heard of. What is PCA's biggest market, and how do they compete against the numerous smaller shops out there? Just my personal observation...
PCA is one of the strongest, best run paper companies in the industry. Arguably, the best large integrated paper company. They have a combination of large, national account type business and smaller-medium sized local accounts.
They compete very effectively in most, if not all geographic markets that they're engaged in. IMHO they're able to compete by being well equipped and producing a good product. I've found that local management is disciplined and approaches each market with the intent to make money rather than cut up tons of paper. That's not to say they don't do dumb things from time to time, but that seems to be the exception. With their competitors it's more the rule.
Their market behavior is more serviced oriented than their integrated competitors (IP, TIN, RKT/SSCC, GP). They're not afraid to leverage low prices when they want to - especially when defending or acquiring a piece of business that's important to them.
They compete very effectively against integrated and independents alike (mom and pops as you call them).
I've competed against them for years and gained a good deal of respect for how they run their show.