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Steel PRN panic: accusers turn accused

Valpak has hit out at its rivals in the wake of the panic that rocked the steel packaging compliance industry in late 2004.

Steel PRN prices soared at the end of last year as obligated parties desperately tried to buy enough to meet their obligations.

Industry sources claimed this panic was caused by some leading players holding onto excess steel PRNs.

But Valpak chief executive Steve Gough has denied his firm has such a surplus - and turned the blame for the rising prices on those complaining.

"The recently published concerns that Valpak may be holding surplus steel PRNs are completely unfounded," Gough said.

"Like all compliance schemes, Valpak has found the steel market tight this year, and it is only thanks to our considerable forward-planning and investment that we are confident that we will comply on behalf of our members.

"We do not at present have any surplus steel PRNs, and if we do we will make them available on the open market.

"If other schemes are concerned that they may fail their members, they should perhaps have taken a longer-term view of the market.

"Valpak has long been saying that investment in the market is crucial to ensure future compliance, and schemes who have ignored this are now beginning to feel the squeeze.

"Rather than pointing the finger at others, they should perhaps reconsider their internal planning strategies.

"This is an issue which has been pending all year, and yet it is only now that some schemes are starting to respond. Responsible schemes realise that compliance is long-term, not just for Christmas."

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