Pactiv Corp. is streamlining operations with two plant closures. The Lake Forest, Ill.-based consumer and specialty-packaging products maker will close plants with some plastics capacity in Yakima, Wash., and Wheeling, Ill.
In recent phone interviews and e-mails, spokeswoman Lisa Foss confirmed Pactiv plans to phase out by year's end operations at the Yakima site. The plant, which makes plastic meat trays, employs 50. She also said Pactiv will close by April 1 the Wheeling plant, which produces items including plastic kitchenware.
Foss said the company is consolidating its two Wheeling plants - the other plant makes paperboard products. Some 96 employees from the facility that is being closed will be offered severance packages or other opportunities with the company.
``[The closing] will allow us to increase business efficiency and bring our operations together,'' she said.
Foss said workers in Yakima will receive severance packages.
An official with New Vision, the Yakima County Development Association, said Pactiv's decision to close the plant took locals by surprise.
``Our plastics industry has done well and most of our plastics industry is expanding and growing,'' said Tammy Everts, the association's marketing and development coordinator.
Several plastics companies have plants in Yakima, including Bunzl Extrusion Inc., Cascade Quality Molding Inc., Macro Plastics Inc., Ranier Plastics Inc. and West Coast Plastics Inc. According to the Labor Department, Washington state's unemployment rate for December was 4.8 percent, compared with the national rate of 5 percent.
For 2007, Pactiv reported net profit of $245 million on sales of $3.25 billion. In its Jan. 23 earnings release, Pactiv officials said the company will restructure in an attempt to control costs.
The closings will leave Pactiv with 37 North American plants and one in Germany.
Pactiv on Feb. 7 announced Andrew Campbell, senior vice president and chief financial officer, will retire at midyear. He will be replaced by Edward Walters, currently Pactiv's vice president and controller.