Sweetheart Cup Co. is closing its Riverside, Calif., plant, which makes disposable food-service products such as thermoformed polystyrene lids and extruded polypropylene straws, as well as some paper products.
``The company is streamlining its operations,'' said Sweetheart spokesman Gerald Murray. ``The operations can be done better [in] more-efficient manners. This reduces costs.''
The 164,000-square-foot manufacturing and warehouse facility's 300 employees received the closing notice Sept. 2. The plant will close by the end of the month. Although Sweetheart owns the plant and plans to sell it, no buyer has been announced.
Some equipment is obsolete and several lines will be moved to other Sweetheart plants, Murray said. The firm would not disclose the number of machines there.
A distribution center in Riverside will stay open until March, when it will be merged with one in Ontario, Calif.
The Owings Mills, Md.-based company's moves follow more than a year of consolidation. Its corporate offices were transferred from Chicago to Owings Mills. Its paper plant in Springfield, Mo., also is undergoing consolidation. Sweetheart has plants in Chicago; Conyers and Augusta, Ga.; Dallas; Owings Mills; Somerville, Mass.; Scarborough, Ontario; and North Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sweetheart Cup, which was founded in 1911, was purchased in 1983 by Fort Howard Paper Co.
American Industrial Partners Capital Fund LP acquired Sweetheart in 1993 from Morgan Stanley Group, which had acquired it from Fort Howard.
The firm supplies companies such as McDonald's, Wendy's International and Taco Bell with injection molded and thermoformed PS products. These include disposable cups, plates, cutlery and straws. Sweetheart also produces containers for the dairy and food industries.
Sweetheart Cup's estimated thermoforming sales were $255 million for the year ended Sept. 30, 1996, placing it No. 2 in Plastics News' 1997 ranking of North American thermoformers. The company's parent, Sweetheart Holdings Inc., also based in Owings Mills, reported 1996 sales of $903.3 million, down from $931.8 million in 1995.