Graham Packaging Co. LP is slimming down its New Jersey operations, by closing its Edison plastics plant in June.
``Graham Packaging is responding to the changing needs of the marketplace, to ensure the company as a whole remains competitive,'' spokesman Don Sarvey said April 3.
The plant employs 117 to make blow molded PET bottles and polypropylene closures. Sarvey said employees will be offered severance packages or offers to relocate to Graham's plants in Belvidere and Bordentown, N.J.
Graham acquired the 200,000-square-foot Edison plant in 2004 when it bought the blow molding business of Toledo, Ohio-based Owens-Illinois Inc.
York, Pa.-based Graham employs about 8,700 at 87 plants in 16 countries. The Edison closing will leave 54 plants in North America, according to Sarvey.
Graham reported 2007 net loss of $206.1 million on sales of $2.49 billion. Profit fell 71 percent from 2006, when Graham reported net loss of $120.4 million on sales of $2.52 billion. Chief Executive Officer Warren Knowlton said the company is focusing on cost-savings, productivity gains, quality improvement initiatives and pricing programs to offset flat sales.
But Mark Leiden, Graham's vice president of global marketing, said the flat sales are not discouraging. ``In an economy the way it is now, that is pretty good,'' he said in an April 4 telephone interview. In 2007 Graham added $100 million in capacity and forecasts the same for 2008, Leiden said.
Graham's sales were down $80.4 million, or 3.6 percent, in North America, mainly due to more sales of lower-priced products, competitive price reductions and fewer units sold. In Europe and South America, sales were up $42 million and $11 million, respectively, due to an increase in sales and the effect of currency conversion rates.