EVANSVILLE, IND. (Updated Jan. 15, 5:30 p.m. ET) — Berry Plastics Group Inc. will spend $33 million to expand operations at its Evansville plant, and begin production on a new line of barrier food packaging.
The majority of that investment will go toward new equipment.
“This investment is really a tremendous testimony to Berry’s innovation capabilities,” said Jon Rich, Berry’s chairman and CEO, in a Jan. 15 news conference.
The news conference, held by Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, was broadcast online.
During the recession, Berry intensified its focus on R&D and worked aggressively to invent creative new products. The latest expansion will “help turn those inventions into reality,” Rich said.
The firm is also planning to add 115 new jobs, both technical and salaried positions, at the location over the next couple years and has already begun hiring.
Work on the expansion will begin as soon as possible, Rich said.
“Customers are demanding the [new packaging]. They’re very excited about this new technology.”
As part of the expansion, Berry will put $460,000 toward upgrading the railroad lines used to transport resin into the plant.
Updating the railroad infrastructure will cost more than $900,000. The state of Indiana and the city of Evansville have offered grants to cover the remaining costs.
Berry has also been offered tax incentives from Evansville, Vanderburgh County and the state.
Berry currently employs 1,800 people in Evansville. The city serves as the site of Berry’s headquarters, as well as its research and design center and in-house tooling division.
Berry has 80 manufacturing facilities and more than 15,500 employees worldwide. The packaging giant had sales of $4.8 billion in 2012, according to SEC filings.