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Berry Plastics shifting work to Indiana

By: Jim Johnson

January 14, 2014

Berry Plastics Group Inc. is creating more than 300 jobs at four locations in the company’s native Indiana as part of restructuring that will ultimately reduce overall company employment by some 200 positions.

Indiana job rolls will benefit by the changes first announced last fall by the Evansville-based company, which is now out with new details, including plans to relocate equipment to four Indiana sites and add of 330 jobs there.

“The 330 jobs being added to the company’s Indiana facilities encompass both the addition of new positions as well as employment associated with the relocation of the equipment,” Berry Plastics spokeswoman Eva Schmitz said.

“Berry Plastics is taking these actions in light of weak economic activity so as to reduce our cost structure and align our base assets to demand while best servicing our customers,” she said.

The company is relocating manufacturing equipment to facilities in downtown Evansville as well as near the Evansville airport. Sites in Princeton and Richmond also will receive equipment. Along with relocating existing equipment, the company is adding new equipment as part of a $31 million investment for the Indiana locations.

The 330 jobs being added in Indiana will come over two years, including 280 in Evansville, Berry Plastics said.

The company previously said in November five sites would close, including locations in Texas, Washington and Illinois.

Overall, the company expects a net reduction of approximately 200 jobs once the restructuring is finished.

Berry Plastics is receiving up to $300,000 for job skills training and $2.35 million in Economic Development for Growing Economy tax credits from through the Indiana Economic Development Corp. Evansville also offered tax abatements for real and personal property totaling $4.5 million and a hiring and training grant of up to $100,000.

Berry Plastics has made new investments of $64 million and created 395 production jobs in Evansville during the past couple of years, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said in a statement.

The company, in November, announced plans to close five sites in a restructuring plan for fiscal year 2014, which ends in September.

Those locations include an engineered materials plant in Houston, a flexible packaging site in Kent, Wash., and a rigid open top plant in Alsip, Ill. The two other sites have yet to be revealed, but Schmitz said the plans are expected to be completed by the end of the current fiscal year.

Berry Plastics, at the time of the restructuring announcement, indicated it expected to save $27 million in annual operating costs when the changes are fully implemented.