Chesapeake Corp. has sold a plastic packaging operation but remains committed to its other bottle molding businesses, the Richmond, Va., firm said.
Chesapeake sold a Boxmore Plastics Ltd. plant in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, to a management group for undisclosed terms, the company said in a March 24 news release. The business, renamed Beverage Plastics Ltd., makes PET preforms and bottles and high density polyethylene closures for carbonated soft drinks and bottled water.
The plant was sold mainly because it underperformed Chesapeake targets, according to spokesman Joe Vagi. Boxmore represented Chesapeake's entry into PET in 2000, when the paper-oriented Chesapeake acquired the company. Although Chesapeake sold the Lurgan operation, six other plants included in the 2000 deal will remain with Chesapeake.
Global plastic container sales last year of $181.8 million accounted for about 17 percent of Chesapeake's total sales. Vagi would not estimate the new sales total for his firm's continuing bottle operations.
Chesapeake now runs plastic bottle plants in Harrismith and Cape Town, South Africa; Cavan, Ireland; St. Etienne, France; Crewe, England; Port Louis, Mauritius; and two plants in Kunshan, China. The plants variously make PET preforms and PET bottles mainly for bottled water, and HDPE bottles sold for agricultural and specialty chemicals.
``Plastics continue to be a growing segment,'' Vagi said in a telephone interview. The firm's bottle sales in 2005 grew 9 percent. Chesapeake's main business is paperboard packaging. It operates in 50 locations around the world and employs about 6,100.