Graham Packaging Co. LP will sell two Italian blow molding plants as part of its continuing move to restructure its European business and move operations closer to customers.
Graham, based in York, Pa., announced it had signed an agreement to sell plants in Campochiaro and Sovico, Italy, to packaging producer Serioplast SpA. Serioplast, a maker of blow molded consumer bottles, has four other packaging and filling plants in northern Italy.
The move by Graham, to be wrapped up by the end of March, complements a decision announced in January to close a container blow molding plant in Wrexham, Wales, said Graham spokesman Donald Sarvey. The company is moving work to other parts of Europe, closer to customer facilities, Sarvey said.
Graham declined to discuss where that work is moving, citing customer requests for confidentiality. But the jettisoning of the three plants is counterbalanced by business in other parts of Europe, Sarvey said.
``It's a matter of following strategic customers,'' Sarvey said. ``It doesn't in any way represent a downsizing of our presence in Europe.''
The Italian facilities together have 80 employees and combined sales of about 6 million euros ($5.3 million), said Leonardo Innocenti, general manager of Serioplast, based in Dalmine, Italy. Both plants opened in 1992.
The Italian packaging firm plans to double sales at the sites, Innocenti said March 20 by telephone. With the new facilities, the family-owned firm will record sales of about 45 million euros ($39.7 million) in 2002, Innocenti said.
Like Graham, Serioplast made its decision to satisfy customer needs, said Innocenti, part of the family that owns the company. The company needs space for continued expansion, he said.
Terms of the deal, announced March 15, were not disclosed.
After closing or selling the plants in Wales and Italy, Graham will have 12 plants in Europe, about one-fifth of its plant total worldwide, according to company-provided information. The firm ranked sixth on Plastics News' list of North American blow molders, with an estimated $638 million in relevant sales in 2000.