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UPDATED: Portola cosmetic packaging unit consolidates manufacturing

Portola Tech International (PTI), the cosmetic packaging arm of Portola Packaging Inc. (Batavia, IL), is consolidating its manufacturing into a new plant in Cumberland, RI. Rick Schofield, Portola Tech president, said the move comes after several years of planning and will ultimately mean more efficient supply and lower costs for the company’s customers.

Portola Tech International (PTI), the cosmetic packaging arm of Portola Packaging Inc. (Batavia, IL), is consolidating its manufacturing into a new plant in Cumberland, RI. Rick Schofield, Portola Tech president, said the move comes after several years of planning and will ultimately mean more efficient supply and lower costs for the company’s customers. Schofield told MPW that his company will shift all production of packaging that is currently shipped to Europe to the company's plant in Litvinov, Czech Republic, with plans to double the size of that operation. The company will complete the move into a new, roughly 100,000-sq-ft site in Cumberland, RI at the end of this year, with that facility able to accommodate 20 injection molding machines, as well as the company's metalizing and decoration operations, according to Schofield, who expects employment there to be a little less than 100.

Portola acquired the former Tech Industries (Woonsocket, RI) in September 2003, as part of its broader effort to target growth segments, which it identified at the time in food, personal care, and cosmetics. In January 2004, when Tech Industries changed its name to Portola Tech International, its parent, Portola Packaging, said some of its manufacturing sites would add capacity to fabricate closures and containers for PTI. Portola, which has 14 manufacturing locations in North America, Europe, and Asia, as well as joint ventures in South America and Africa, announced in September 2004 that PTI would begin production at the aforementioned injection molding facility in Litvinov, Czech Republic, which has presses ranging from 120 to 260 tons, as well as adding closure and jar manufacturing to a plant in Shanghai, which runs machines from 120 to 380 tons. Schofield said those sites primarily run PTI applications, and in addition to the expansion of the Czech operation, he said the company plans a "significant" investment for its facility in Shanghai.

These moves have been announced nearly one year since Portola Packaging announced that it had reached an agreement with creditors to enter a “pre-packaged” Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on July 24, 2008. Roughly four months after that filing, the company announced that it completed a de-leveraging of its balance sheet, saying on Nov. 26, 2008 that the restructuring had reduced Portola’s debt and associated interest expenses. In May of last year, Portola Packaging said it would consolidate its Clifton Park, NY operation into its three other U.S. locations of Batavia IL, Phoenix AZ, and Kingsport, TN, with the Tennessee site absorbing the majority of the New York business. Following the restructuring, the company would have “anchor” plants in the East, West, and Central regions of the U.S. Schofield said the restructuring, which removed about $180 million in debt, allowed these current changes. PTI, which owns the 120-yr-old building in Woonsocket, RI and the land it's on, plans to sell both once the transition to Cumberland, RI is complete.

PTI offers injection and compression molding, ultraviolet metalizing, ultraviolet one-coat spray technologies, silk screening, hot stamping, lining, and multiple component assembly for the cosmetic, fragrance, and toiletries markets. In addition to offering a large stock line of closures, with more than 450 styles and sizes, PTI molds a complementary line of heavy-wall PETG and polypropylene jars. [email protected]

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