Sonoco Products Co. plans to close a thermoforming plant in Wilson, N.C., impacting 138 jobs, according to a layoff notice filed with the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
The Hartsville, S.C.-based company filed the notice on July 27 and plans to permanently close the plant by Sept. 30. A spokesman said Sonoco decided to consolidate its perimeter-of-the-store thermoforming operations on the East Coast into its primary operation in Plant City, Fla.
"The Wilson, N.C., thermoforming operation served as a satellite operation to Plant City and forecasted sales did not support maintaining the Wilson facility," he said.
In April, the company announced plans to expand its Waynesville, N.C., thermoforming plant by investing $2.6 million to add a new production line and create 15 jobs. The spokesman said the Wilson closure is unrelated.
"The Waynesville facility produces dual-ovenable and microwave thermoformed trays and bowls for frozen and prepared foods. The Wilson satellite thermoforming facility produced clear PET clam shell trays for berries, salads and tomatoes," he said.
Sonoco is encouraging workers to relocate to other facilities in North Carolina, or to Plant City, he said.
Two thermoforming machines will move to Plant City, and a third will move to Sonoco's Exeter, Calif., plant.
Sonoco ranks No. 3 in Plastics News' survey of North American thermoformers with estimated sales of $600 million. When the Wilson plant closes, Sonoco will have six thermoforming plants in North America.
Sonoco is publicly traded and has total sales of about $5 billion.