The BPF has published the results of its latest BPF Business Conditions Survey, which revealed a continuing optimism with 55% of respondents forecasting an increase in UK sales turnover and 32% an increase in export sales in 2013.
A minority of companies, however, forecasted lower profitability and reductions in staff since the last survey in 2012.
Peter Davis, BPF Director-General said: "The plastics industry is confident about sales this year and most plan to make investment in plant and equipment." He went on to say that those expecting profit margins to decrease showed "the heavy external pressures on companies in a tough trading market."
The survey revealed the most positive sectors are plastic pipes, masterbatch producers and compounders, additive suppliers, polymer distributors and recyclers.
Thirty-two percent of companies expected export sales to increase in 2013 whilst 34% expected no change. Six percent predicted a decrease, whilst the remainder did not export.
Most firms - 45% - were expecting no change to their profitability in 2013, with 36% expecting their profitability to increase and mentioned manufacturing efficiencies, cost cutting and benefits from capital expenditure.
The 19% of respondents who expected their profit margin to decrease cited Euro/£ exchange rate, Asian competition and raw material and energy costs as contributing factors.
On staffing plans for 2013, 47% were forecasting no change whereas 31% were planning to increase staff in 2013. Some 22% of respondents were planning to reduce staff in 2013. This is a large increase on the June 2012 survey (12%) and that in January 2012 (12%).
In terms of training and succession plans, 37% of respondents said they will employ apprentices in 2013. In total they will employ 110, with moulding firms taking 37 and packaging firms 35.
The association also recently unveiled the major elements of its 80th Anniversary celebrations, to focus on a conference in June celebrating and promoting the diverse member groups of the organisation.
A BPF team headed by President, Philip Watkins, revealed the event would bring together an "impressive line up" of industry speakers, including CBI director, John Cridland, Barclays Bank Industry Director, Mike Rigby, as well as a number of renowned plastics experts who will chair 'Industry Clinics' on their specialist subjects.
Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, congratulated the BPF on its Anniversary, stating in a letter to the Federation that it represented a sector that continues to be of strategic importance to the economy of the UK. "Plastics are essential to much of our manufacturing and distributive sectors and underpin the success of many sectors," he said.