We’re taking a look behind the numbers for this week’s Plastics News ranking of the Top 100 North American injection molders. Actually, 103 companies made the cut with a six-way tie at the $70 million cut off.

This group represents combined related sales of $29.3 billion. While that number is above last year by a tiny fraction of 1 percent, the average sales per firm is down 0.8 percent. Why? Mostly due to declines in the automotive market in 2019.

Those companies were hit again with shutdowns due to the pandemic — which aren’t reflected in 2019 numbers — so it’s a tough market, no doubt.

What about other markets? Were they up? Well, in a way, yes, and in a way, no. Packaging and custom molders saw increases, but medical and industrial suppliers not so much. Acquisitions were still the best way to increase sales. Seven acquisitions are reported in the top 100 alone, with more to come in next week’s listing of smaller companies.

The biggest news was Berry Global Group’s purchase of RPC Group plc in June 2019. Combining their injection molding operations with previously ranked Letica Corp. has them shooting back up to No. 1, having moved down the ranking in 2012, when the automotive market was on the rise and Magna International Inc. took over the spot. Magna has since sold its interiors business to Grupo Antolin-Irausa SA.

Businesses are always looking for more ways to be more profitable. In our research, we saw some plant consolidations and rebranding. That means there’s now the renamed Jabil Healthcare. Some financial footwork was also afoot, with Novares Group SA emerging from receivership and Techniplas LLC filing for Chapter 11 protection.

Resin prices dropped a bit among the top materials. ABS, nylon, polycarbonate and polyethylene saw smaller declines of 2-9 percent, however, polypropylene showed the biggest slide at 19.2 percent.

Let’s get back to that pandemic thing, A very non-scientific look at our story listings has 236 mentions of COVID-19 in the eight weeks between the end of February and mid-June. I can’t tell if the disruptions helped or hurt our research.

On one hand, we heard from some companies that had not responded in the past. But at other firms, some communication departments were out of sync with our regular avenues to update information.

Very few of our telephone calls to company headquarters were successful, and our best responses came from email and cell phones.

This leads me into another of my public service announcements, this time to website editors: Please double check the contact email listed online, nothing is worse than generic mailboxes like info@ or customerservice@ bouncing back as undeliverable. If you weren’t contacted for this ranking or any type of recent special coverage, please let us know how best to reach you.

And finally, congratulations to Tessy Plastics Corp. for breaking into the top 25 this year.

Want more information? Visit our top 100 ranking online at http://www.plasticsnews.com/rankings/injection-molders. And watch next week’s issue for the rest of this year’s injection molders’ ranking.