Hockenheim – December 22, 2015. Sonoco Consumer Products Europe announced today that the company has entered into consultation with the workforce representatives to permanently close two of its production facilities in Germany, Bunde and Hockenheim 3. This step is part of a general restructuring process that aims to ensure profitable growth by consolidating consumer packaging production according to customer demands. Sonoco Consumer Products Europe is the largest producer of rigid paper containers (also known as composite cans) in Europe.
The operational shutdown of the Bunde plant could become effective by May 31, 2016, while the operational shutdown of the Hockenheim 3 plant – one of two production facilities located in Hockenheim – could become effective in the third quarter 2017. “Both plants have had a good operating history and excellent employees, and we regret having to discuss shutdowns. However, due to recent production volume losses at both plants we see no alternative to this step,” said Séan Cairns, General Manager and Vice President, Sonoco Consumer Products Europe. “Although our European business with consumer packaging keeps on growing and is developing very positively, we recently faced a significant decline in the production of tobacco packaging due to the revision of the European Tobacco Product Directive. For this reason and to make sure that our business is fit for the future, we plan to restructure our production in Germany.”
The Bunde plant located in Northwest Germany has a production capacity of 100 million units, while the Hockenheim 3 plant in Southwest Germany can produce 130 million units. The closures could affect 100 employees in total. The company will offer severance benefits and outplacement assistance after the final decision has been taken.
“The planned closure of both plants will have no impact on Sonoco Europe’s services to customers,” Cairns said. “Our remaining consumer plants in Europe have sufficient capacity.” Following this restructuring, Sonoco would retain close to 2 billion units capacity of rigid paper containers in Europe.
Investments in Plastic Packaging located in Zwenkau
Independent of the planned closures, Sonoco Consumer Products Europe has announced an investment of 6.5 million Euros over the next 12 months in their Zwenkau plant in Eastern Germany. The investments will primarily focus on increased production capacity and environmental efficiency of Sonoco’s plastic consumer packaging production located near Leipzig.
“While the planned closure of Bunde and Hockenheim 3 is a difficult decision, the capital to be spent in Zwenkau will turn our production site into one of the most efficient German plants in the industry,” Cairns said.. “We look forward to beginning investment early in 2016 and to completing the program sometime near the end of 2016.”
About Sonoco Europe
Sonoco's more than 70 operations in Europe provide customers with solutions in Global Rigid Paper and Closures; Global Plastics; Packaging Services and Graphics Management. Offering a range of packaging materials, packaging services, technical disciplines, material science and manufacturing capabilities, Sonoco takes a holistic approach to providing customized solutions that meet our customers' unique needs. To learn more, visit www.sonocoeurope.com.
Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of a variety of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging, and display and packaging services. With annualized net sales of approximately $5.0 billion, the Company has 20,800 employees working in more 330 facilities in 34 countries, serving many of the world's best-known brands in some 85 nations. Sonoco is a proud member of the 2014/2015 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. For more information on the Company, visit our website at www.sonoco.com.
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