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Ball Corp. (Broomfield, CO) will shut down what it calls the smallest polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle-manufacturing plants in its system, permanently shuttering facilities in Baldwinsville, NY and Watertown, WI. Ball says it will supply current customers of those plants from larger Ball facilities. Ball’s Scott McCarty told PlasticsToday that the moves reflect his company’s increasing focus away from monolayer bottles towards custom containers.

Tony Deligio

April 9, 2009

2 Min Read
Ball to close two PET bottle plants

Ball Corp. (Broomfield, CO) will shut down what it calls the smallest polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle-manufacturing plants in its system, permanently shuttering facilities in Baldwinsville, NY and Watertown, WI. Ball says it will supply current customers of those plants from larger Ball facilities. Ball’s Scott McCarty told PlasticsToday that the moves reflect his company’s increasing focus away from monolayer bottles towards custom containers. “[Ball] has said in past [earnings] calls that it would not invest further in the monolayer PET business unless the returns in that business improved,” McCarty says. “Our focus continues to be custom bottles, many of which are multilayer.”

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Ball’s 750-ml PET wine bottles for Painted Turtle won a Sustainable Packaging Leadership Award from the Canadian Packaging Assn. in 2008. The package is part of its heightened emphasis away from monolayer bottles towards custom, multilayer containers.



Ball’s second-quarter results will reflect an after-tax charge of approximately $14 million as a result of the move. Longer term, Ball is hopeful the move will generate annual cost savings of $12 million beginning in 2010.

Baldwinsville opened in 1996, operates seven production lines capable of making approximately 1 billion recyclable PET bottles annually, and employs 113 people. Pending customer requirements, the plant is scheduled to cease manufacturing operations by July 7. Watertown has four production lines, an annual capacity of approximately 250 million recyclable PET bottles, and employs 52 people. Ball acquired the plant from Wis-Pak Inc. in 2001 and plans to cease operations there by June 7. McCarty said the company will be able to maintain the same level of production, but might have to move some equipment into the larger plants to do so. Ball will continue to operate plastic packaging plants in Chino, CA; Atlanta, GA; Batavia, IL; Ames, IA; Belleview, OH; and Delran, NJ.

In 2008, Ball closed or announced the closure of six manufacturing plants in North America, including three metal beverage facilities, two food and household product facilities, and one plastic packaging facility. Once complete, the moves were expected to cut Ball’s headcount by 1500, or 9%.

Plastic volume decreased in 2008 compared to 2007, but the company says its emphasis on “custom PET packaging” fostered growth, with that segment of the business now accounting for almost 25% of its total volume. [email protected]

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