This is a busy time for Scholle IPN Corp., which officially became part of SIG Combibloc Group Ltd. and revealed plans to expand manufacturing operations in Virginia on the same day.
Northlake, Ill.-based Scholle IPN, which makes flexible packaging, expects to spend $31.1 million at the company's Chilhowie, Va., plant in a project that includes construction of 73,000 square feet of additional space.
That extra room will "accommodate new manufacturing lines for film extrusion and packaging and add over 800 feet in new rail track to support the inflow of resin," according to the Virginia governor's office.
Ross Bushnell, formerly Scholle IPN's CEO, remained with the company as president as the company officially became part of SIG on June 1, the same day the state announced the new Virginia project. SIG and Scholle had revealed the 1.36 billion euros ($1.54 billion at the time) purchase in February, estimating at that time the deal would close by the end of its third quarter.
The deal actually closed on the first day of the third financial quarter, combining SIG's aseptic carton capabilities with Scholle IPN's flexible packaging portfolio. The purchase evolved from the two companies initially talking in 2021 about sharing technologies.
Laurens Last, Scholle IPN's previous owner, is now SIG's largest shareholder with 9.18 percent of the company's shares. This includes shares received through the purchase as well as stock he has purchased in the open market, Neuhausen, Switzerland-based SIG said.
The combined firm now includes nearly 8,000 employees and 69 manufacturing and sales locations around the world, including the Virginia location that is under expansion.
"By committing over $30 million in the expansion of our Chilhowie, Va., facility, we not only better serve the needs of our customers across North America, we also ensure that Chilhowie and the state of Virginia remain at the forefront of our sustainable packaging capabilities," Bushnell said in a statement.
The project will create 75 new jobs, the state said.
“The expansion will primarily go to grow our film extrusion and lamination capabilities, making Chilhowie vertically [integrated] with film and fitment production for bag-in-box packaging. The site will ultimately be 225,000 square feet once complete,” said Ryan Balock, director of global marketing and communications for Scholle IPN, in an email.
"Virginia serves as a global gateway, and we're pleased to continue to help Scholle IPN reach world markets," Virginia Secretary of Transportation W. Sheppard Miller III said in a statement. "This investment by Scholle IPN shows just how valuable the multimodal transportation network is in the road map for economic growth in Virginia.
"Southwest Virginia has truly become an advanced manufacturing corridor," he said.
Scholle IPN will be able to tap into a variety of sources of state aid to help with the expansion. The company is receiving a $600,000 grant from Virginia's Opportunity Fund and the company is eligible to receive additional aid from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program and the state Rail Industrial Access Program, the governor's office said.
Job creation efforts will be supported by the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, which provides customized recruitment and training services.
Scholle IPN makes barrier films, fitments, and filling and sealing equipment for bag-in-box and spouted pouch applications. Last year alone, the company produced more than 480 million bag-in-box packages and more than 3 billion spouted pouches.