Bemis Co. Inc. of Neenah, Wis., is closing its Curwood Inc. high barrier flexible packaging plant in Georgetown, Ontario, part of a longer-term consolidation plan that the company announced during a Jan. 25 conference call.
The Georgetown site will end production by the end of March, officials said in a Jan. 25 news release, and the closing will affect 137 employees. Curwood will continue to operate a warehouse and business office in Georgetown.
``Concentrating our production teams on fewer, more modern facilities not only reduces fixed costs but it also improves the effectiveness of our manufacturing teams,'' Jeff Curler, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Bemis, said in the conference call. ``Cost reduction is a priority in 2006. Productivity improvements will continue to be a high priority as it was in 2005.''
Curwood Packaging (Canada) Ltd. opened in Georgetown in 1969 to produce flexible plastic packaging for food products.
Officials will not give further details on other plant closings until each impacted location has been notified, Curler said.
Bemis increased capacity for several high-growth products in 2005, and that will continue in 2006, Curler said. These inlcude packaging for cereal, coffee, produce, lawn and garden products and multisack packaging for bundling bags of snacks.
``All of our new customer developments in multilayer films, graphics, shrink packaging, both barrier and nonbarrier, will drive our capital needs in 2006 and 2007,'' Curler said.
The company increased its capacity for several high-growth markets through 2005, and that will continue in 2006, he said.
``This new capacity is sufficient to accommodate new business and also absorb production from older, less efficient operations,'' he said. ``As a result, we have identified opportunities to consolidate facilities and reduce costs in 2006.''
Curler also cited the company's growth in the medical device market, which has been steady over the past few years.
``As the medical device market begins to overlap with the pharmaceutical market, we see this as a natural progression of our technical expertise into a new area,'' he said.
For its 2005 fiscal year ending Dec. 31, the company reported record net sales of $3.5 billion, an increase of 22.6 percent from 2004. Acquisitions accounted for 16.5 percent of the increase, officials said. The company completed the acquisition of Dixie Toga SA of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2005.
According to Plastics News' 2005 ranking of film and sheet manufacturers, the company had 26 film plants in North America, with $2.2 billion in film-related sales.