Packaging company Maillis said yesterday it expects to see annual growth of up to 30 percent over the next two years once global markets return to more normal levels. Addressing shareholders at the annual meeting yesterday, Michalis Maillis, head of the company, said the firm’s growth this year and next would hinge on a recovery in global markets. Maillis has significant exposure to international developments as 97 percent of its sales come from operations abroad. The company head said the firm plans to continue on the acquisition trail this year, with the focus on the North American market. Maillis, one of the fastest-growing and most acquisitive company in Greece, has in the last few years expanded its presence in Europe and across the Atlantic. It embarked on a string of acquisitions in the late 1990s taking advantage of the strong global economic growth. The first stage of expansion covered the European markets, leading to operations in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Finland, Sweden and Bulgaria among others. Maillis’s acquisition of Wulftec International, a Canadian manufacturer of stretch-wrapping machines, in April this year gave the company a strong foothold in the North American market. Maillis told shareholders yesterday the company is now a global company offering complete end-of-line packaging solutions. It reported a 17-percent increase in consolidated sales to 77.2 million euros in the first quarter of the year and a 16.5-percent rise in group pretax profits to 7.5 million euros. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization soared by 48 percent to 13.8 million euros. The company’s turnover this year is projected to rise to 350 million euros and pretax profits to 38 million euros with the forecast for 2003 450 million euros and 55 million euros respectively. «We have a good law for foreign investment and we have huge refineries which need oil and are running at 40 percent of their capacity,» he said. «The refineries are in good condition. Basically they need oil and some investment but not much» to upgrade them.