Sonoco Products Co. is realigning its West Coast thermoforming operations, closing one plant and using another as a distribution center.
The company plans to close its Yakima, Wash., thermoforming plant in December, according to a notice from the state Employment Security Department.
Brian Risinger, a spokesman for the Hartsville, S.C.-based company, confirmed plans to close Yakima. He added that Sonoco is shutting down production at a plant Guadalajara, Mexico, but keeping that location open as a warehouse and distribution facility.
According to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification filed in Washington, 133 workers in Yakima will lose their jobs, with layoffs scheduled to start on Dec. 20.
The Yakima plant was formerly part of Exeter, Calif.-based Peninsula Packaging Co. LLC. Sonoco bought that company in 2017 for $230 million. The site makes packaging for fresh fruit and vegetables.
Risinger blamed the plant closure on macroeconomic conditions impacting produce packing operations, challenging conditions on the West Coast and Mexico and the loss of a large customer connected to the Yakima plant.
Sonoco will move some equipment out of the Yakima plant, and it is looking for a buyer for the building, Risinger said.
Sonoco ranks No. 3 in Plastics News' survey or North American thermoformers with estimated sales of $600 million.
The Yakima and Guadalajara moves will leave Sonoco with six thermoforming plants in North America.
Three plants — in Franklin Park, Ill.; Chillicothe, Mo.; and Waynesville, N.C. — make trays from crystalline, amorphous and recycled PET, primarily for frozen foods, as well as blister packaging for retail and medical/health care packaging for sterile barrier and nonsterile applications.
On the West Coast, it will retain a plant in Exeter that it acquired in 2017. On the East Coast, Sonoco has factories in Plant City, Fla., and Wilson, N.C., that were part of Sonoco's $150 million purchase of Highland Packaging Solutions Inc. in 2018.
The East Coast plants serve the produce, dairy and foodservice markets. At the time they were acquired, Sonoco said the purchase brought $90 million of annual business.