The loss of a major Scottish milk packaging contract to rival Tetra Pak Moulded Packaging Systems Ltd. has led blow molder Plysu plc to shut down a small plant in Darnley, near Glasgow, with the loss of 53 jobs. The contract, with Robert Wiseman Dairies Ltd. of Glasgow, represented two-thirds of Darnley's sales.
The Wiseman contract ends in July, and the plant is set to close in September, according to a Plysu spokesman.
The plant's fate was sealed when Wiseman Dairies awarded Reading, England-based Tetra Pak a contract to build and operate a "through-the-wall" high density polyethylene bottle plant at Wiseman's Bellshill dairy in Glasgow.
"We have been trying to find alternative customers to take up the slack. But patently, with such a big volume of the dairy business now in the hands of a few players, it has been impossible to find a replacement," the Plysu spokesman said.
Plysu of Milton Keynes, England, is owned by Africa's largest packaging company, Nampak Ltd. of Johannesburg, South Africa.
The company, whose operations are being merged with Nampak's existing European liquid-food container molding business BlowMocan, said it has begun talks with the Darnley work force. BlowMocan, which had three United Kingdom plants, also is based in Milton Keynes, in central England.
Following the closure, other customers of the Darnley facility will be served from the BlowMocan molding plant at Consett, England.
"We very much regret the need for this closure and the subsequent redundancies, but the creation of new capacity elsewhere in the area means that there is no viable future for the plant," said Robin Moore, director of Plysu's liquid-foods packaging division and formerly BlowMocan managing director.
For Tetra Pak, a division of Tetra Pak Plastics SA of Geneva the new deal is its second through-the-wall contract for Wiseman. It already operates a similar blow molding facility at the Wiseman dairy in Trafford Park, England.
At Bellshill, the molding plant began turning out a range of HDPE bottles in November on four Graham Wheel machines installed last year, according to Tetra Pak.
Bottles are transported on a 500-foot conveyor into the dairy, where a multilane conveyor system allows the blow molding plant to select the filler to be supplied at a particular time.
Wiseman Dairies has been considering extending the site to also allow production of smaller 1-pint and 1-liter bottles, Tetra Pak said.