Ball Corp. will move corporate offices and research and development operations for its plastics container group to Colorado, where the company plans to expand its existing technical center.
Starting early next year, the company will relocate support staff for plastics containers from Smyrna, Ga., to the company's packaging office in Broomfield, Colo., where Ball is based, said spokesman Scott McCarty.
The firm also plans to break ground in the spring on a 28,000-square-foot addition to its technical center in Westminster, Colo., McCarty said. By the end of 2004 the development group for plastic containers will move to the expanded, 71,000-square-foot technical center, he said.
Currently that center is used to develop metal food and beverage cans, McCarty said. The expansion will include high bays to run blow molded products in development, he said.
Ball first put its plastic container operations in Georgia eight years ago, a decision made because of the state's proximity to key customers, McCarty said. But after Ball moved its headquarters in 1998 from Muncie, Ind., to Broomfield, a Denver suburb, some units began to shift to Colorado, he said.
``It's much easier to communicate and meet without having to travel back and forth,'' he said.
About 54 employees in Smyrna are affected by the move, and most have been offered jobs in Colorado. The publicly held company will take a fourth-quarter charge of about $1.6 million in 2002 for relocation costs, including the technical center expansion, McCarty said.
Ball ranked 13th on Plastics News' listing of North American blow molders, with $293 million in relevant 2001 sales.