Ball Corp. has expanded in the Midwest by purchasing two PET blow molding plants from Pepsi bottler Wis-Pak Inc.
Ball said Dec. 14 it is buying Wis-Pak's plants in Watertown, Wis., and Sioux City, Iowa, and signing a long-term agreement to supply Wis-Pak with 100 percent of its PET bottles. Wis-Pak, based in Watertown, is owned by 31 PepsiCo Inc. franchises, mainly in a belt from Wisconsin to Kansas.
The agreement will give Ball some much-needed capacity for its growing PET business, particularly in the Chicago area, said Scott McCarty, spokesman for the Broomfield, Colo.-based company. Ball's PET bottle sales grew to $224 million through the end of September, up from $203 million in the same period in 2000, according to company financial filings.
Terms were not disclosed.
``We had a good year in PET, but we had to ship bottles from one coast to the other because of some capacity issues,'' McCarty said. Ball's only other Midwest plant, in Ames, Iowa, was at capacity and could not produce more, he said.
The two Wis-Pak plants have an excess capacity of 200 million bottles a year, he said. The plants made about 540 million bottles in 2000. The two plants employ about 170 workers.
Before the purchase, Ball had four PET bottle plants - in New York, New Jersey, Iowa and California. They are much larger than the Wis-Pak plants, he said.
Both Wis-Pak plants will be integrated into Ball's operations, McCarty said.
``Our immediate plan is to bring them into the system and run them.''
Wis-Pak sold the plants so it could focus on its core business and benefit from a closer relationship with a large blow molder like Ball, said Wis-Pak President Barbara Parish. The company operates five filling plants for Pepsi.