HuhtamÃ¤ki Oyj will close a thermoforming plant in Phoenix in the first quarter of 2009, laying off about 70 employees. The Espoo, Finland-based company said Nov. 21 that the Phoenix manufacturing equipment and operations will be consolidated into similar plants in Coleman, Mich., and New Vienna, Ohio.
HuhtamÃ¤ki will take a one-time charge of about 5 million euros ($6.3 million) in the fourth quarter of 2008 to cover the costs.
``At this time, there are no other plans to close any of our other rigid plants in North America,'' HuhtamÃ¤ki spokeswoman Brenda Scott said in a Nov. 21 telephone interview. Scott would not give sales figures for the plant, which makes rigid plastic food packaging. The plant processed polystyrene and polypropylene.
HuhtamÃ¤ki in September said it would review its rigid plastic operations, as the division's profitability was below the company's return on investment goal of 15 percent. The rigid packaging unit might be sold, the company said.
On Nov. 4, HuhtamÃ¤ki said it will shutter a flexible packaging operation in Malvern, Pa., because of slumping demand and will take a one-time charge of 18 million euros ($23.3 million) in its fourth quarter to discontinue the money-losing operation. A films operation in Malvern and its 80 employees will continue to operate.
HuhtamÃ¤ki on Nov. 24 inaugurated its second flexible food packaging plant in Samutsakorn, Thailand, where the company has had a presence since 1997.
``This investment supports our strategy to focus on packaging operations where we have a competitive advantage, good market positions and which create value for HuhtamÃ¤ki and our customers. The Asian retail market is expected to grow approximately 10 percent annually and with our new production capacity we can serve our customers in their local and export driven growth even better,'' Chief Executive Officer Jukka Moisio said in a news release.
The Thai plant, which cost 17 million euros ($21.8 million), went online in July, the company said.