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10/05/2016

Sonoco reaches agreement with workforce representatives in Germany: plant closure in Bunde and consolidation of Hockenheim plants

Hockenheim, May 10, 2016 – In the course of restructuring its production in Germany, Sonoco Consumer Products Europe has come to an agreement with the workforce representatives on a reconciliation of interests and a social plan for the employees concerned in Bunde and Hockenheim. Accordingly, the plant in Bunde will cease production on May 31, 2016. The Hockenheim III plant will be integrated into Hockenheim II by the end of the third quarter 2017. These steps are 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 Management has finalized the negotiations with the workforce representatives about restructuring production in Germany. According to the agreement, the plant in Bunde will be closed on May 31, 2016. Subsequently, all 54 employment relationships will end. The company will further merge the plants Hockenheim II and Hockenheim III. This measure is expected to be finalized by the end of the third quarter 2017, resulting in seven redundancies. Thanks to new orders and projects, Sonoco managed to keep the number of employees affected lower than expected. The restructuring measures were caused by a significant decrease in orders for tobacco packaging after the revision of the European Tobacco Product Directive.

“Both plants have a good operating history and exceptional employees. That is why we particularly regret the necessity of these consolidation measures,” says Séan Cairns, General Manager and Vice President of Sonoco Consumer Products Europe. “With the current restructuring process we make sure that our company continues to be well positioned for the future, while the consumer packaging business will continue to grow.” By obtaining additional orders from other industries, Sonoco has already been able to compensate a part of the declining tobacco packaging orders, explains Cairns. This significantly reduced the amount of redundancies in Hockenheim.

The agreement between Sonoco’s management and the workforce representatives includes compensation payments as well as the transfer of the employees affected to a transitional company for a period of 12 months. fqg GmbH will ensure that as many employees as possible find new jobs before being affected by unemployment. In the course of the month, Sonoco will communicate further details at meetings of the workforce in Bunde and Hockenheim.

The Bunde plant located in Northwest Germany has a production capacity of 100 million units, while Hockenheim III in Southwest Germany can produce 130 million units. “The planned closures will have no impact on Sonoco Europe’s services to customers,” Cairns emphasizes. “Our other plants in Europe have the capacities and sustainable cost structure to meet our customers’ needs.” Sonoco will maintain the production capacity of almost 2 billion rigid paper container packaging units in Europe. 

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.

About Sonoco
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 21.000 employees working in more than 340 facilities in 34 countries, serving many of the world's best-known brands in some 85 nations. Sonoco is a proud member of the 2015/2016 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. For more information on the Company, visit our website at www.sonoco.com.

Media contact
Communication Harmonists GmbH & Co. KG
Thorsten Diehl
Poststraße 48
D-69115 Heidelberg
Tel:  +49 6221 18779-14
Fax: +49 6221 18779-11
sonoco@commha.de
www.commha.de

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