Bemis Co. Inc., one of North America's largest film and sheet producers, announced July 20 it has acquired the land, building and equipment of a Prattville, Ala., plant formerly operated by fellow packaging company Wright Plastics Co.
The Prattville plant shut down earlier this year when Wright discontinued its operations there and at its Atlanta headquarters.
Bemis will use the 94,000-square-foot Prattville facility and converting equipment to produce polyethylene packaging film, initially for lawn and garden markets, said Melanie E.R. Miller, director of investor relations at Minneapolis-based Bemis.
``Bemis has a strong presence in the lawn and garden packaging market and hopes to use this plant as an opportunity to create a focus factory for that market,'' she said.
Miller said the company hopes the plant will be up and running by August and expects to hire 100 employees by December. Bemis is not releasing expected sales to be generated by the Prattville plant, but Miller said the firm hopes the operation will be processing 15,000-20,000 pounds of product within its first 12 months.
Bemis did not hire any former Wright employees, Miller said. The purchase did not include Wright's primary Atlanta manufacturing location, she said. Wright had been seeking a buyer for that plant as well.
The purchase price for the land and building was not disclosed, but Bemis said it is negotiating an option to buy a parcel of land adjacent to the plant, which it hopes to use for future expansions.
``We are looking forward to bringing a solid business base back to this plant,'' said George Woolley, vice president of Bemis' polyethylene packaging division.
The Alabama location suits the firm's focus on specific markets in the region, Woolley said in a news release announcing the acquisition.
``Our polyethylene products division has U.S. packaging facilities in Indiana, Wisconsin, California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas and now, Alabama,'' he said. ``With this broad geographical presence, we need to be prepared to expand in a logical, cost-efficient manner to best meet the needs of our customers and our employees.''
Bemis ranked No. 2 in Plastics News' most recent listing of North American film and sheet producers, with $1.25 billion in related sales for 1999. It reported corporatewide sales of $2.16 billion for 2000. The company produces flexible packaging for bakery products, frozen produce, poultry, disposable diapers and other industrial uses.
Wright, with reported sales of $40 million, had produced packaging film for food, medical, agricultural and other industrial markets at Prattville. Wright had built the Prattville facility in 1996 and invested a reported $15 million at the time.