Packaging firm Bemis Co. Inc. of Neenah, Wis., is spending $21 million to upgrade its largest production facility, a flexible polyethylene packaging site in Terre Haute, Ind.
The additions include three extrusion lines and two 10-color presses, said Melanie Miller, Bemis vice president and treasurer, in a May 31 telephone interview.
The presses will be installed by the end of summer. One extrusion line already has been installed; the two remaining lines will be installed in the fourth quarter.
The plant makes packaging for frozen foods and for multipacks such as those used in bottled water. It employs 1,000 hourly workers; nearly 30 will be added.
``We are operating in a competitive industry and continuous improvement is the name of the game if we are going to maintain our leadership position,'' Miller said in a news release.
``The products made in our plants have changed over the past 10 years and our plants need to change with them,'' she said. ``We have invested generously in this facility over the years in an effort to improve our manufacturing efficiency, grow the business and keep more production in this location. This new investment will further upgrade the capabilities of our Terre Haute facility and adjust our capacity to meet the demands of our higher-growth product lines.''
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. and the city of Terre Haute offered Bemis several incentives, including $200,000 in performance-based tax credits, up to $25,500 in training grants and a $1.4 million property-tax abatement.
Bemis has been focusing on plant improvements during the past few months. In October, officials announced the company would double the size of its flexible packaging plant in New London, Wis. It will build a new plant in Northern Ireland to replace an older facility.
When the firm announced first-quarter results April 26, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Curler said investments in growing markets will include meat and cheese, medical, dairy and liquids, and beverage overwrap.
``These areas of emphasis are offsetting the impact of lower sales volume in markets for dry goods, bakery, confectionery and industrial products,'' Curler said.
Bemis' flexible packaging group had sales of $743.2 million in the first quarter, up from $740.2 million for the same period in 2006. The unit represented 82 percent of the company's total sales of $909 million for the first quarter.