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Austria's Greiner building a foothold in the US rigid packaging market

By: Jim Johnson

April 15, 2014

Greiner Packaging International GmbH, one of Europe’s largest makers of rigid plastic packaging, now wants to make its mark in the United States.

The Kremsmünster, Austria-based company plans to open a new location to in Pittston, Pa., in phases starting next month.

The site will provide premium packaging for the dairy industry, Greiner said.

New offices will open in May, followed by production in July and initial machine operation during the fourth quarter of this year.

“There is much to be said about being active in the US market, especially now: the consumers’ rethinking has led to eating more consciously,” CEO Willi Eibner said in a statement. “The increasing demand for good quality foods also means an increasing need for high-quality packaging. At the same time, we have been observing a trend for sustainable packaging concepts.”

Greiner said it will employ its K3 technology in the United States in a 10,000-square-meter site. Production primarily will involve packaging that utilizes a combination of cardboard and plastic as well as printed cups, the company said.

K3 technology allows cardboard wrap to be decorated on both the interior and exterior and provides sustainability advantages through the use of renewable raw materials, less plastic content and a carbon footprint reduction of up to 25 percent, the company said.

K3, in German, stands for Karton-Kunststoff-Kombinationen, or cardboard-plastic combination, the company said on its website.

Establishing a location on U.S. soil will allow the company to continue business relationships with certain existing customers.

“Some of our customers have already started in the US,” Eibner said in the statement. “The new site opens up the opportunity to strengthen established business relationships on another continent, while staying as close to the customer as possible.”

Greiner selected Pittston due to what the company calls “a geographically favorable location” in Northeast Pennsylvania near highways as well as the New York City metropolitan area. The company also pointed to many milk-processing plants in the area.

Greiner Packaging is part of Greiner Group, which traces its history back to 1868. Greiner Packaging operates in 24 locations with 3,236 employees, the company said. Sales, including joint ventures, totaled 488 million euros ($673.8 million) in 2012.

The company ranked No. 5 on European Plastics News’ most recent survey of Europe’s largest rigid plastics packaging manufacturers, with estimated rigid packaging sales of 473 million euros ($653.1 million). The company does thermoforming, blow molding and injection molding, according to the report.