Elopak has decided to concentrate the carton production of its two wholly owned Nordic manufacturing plants in Lahti, Finland and will close its other operation in Spikkestad, Norway.
The company said that new technology and changes in the market place - largely thought to be the continuing strength of the Norwegian currency - had led to an evaluation of its plant structure. However, Lahti is also well located to serve developing markets for liquid food packaging in parts of Russia and the Baltic countries. These markets are both deemed to have huge growth potential which the company is aiming to tap into in the future.
This decision is the result of a process that began in 1998. Elopak has been through an extensive turn around process, which has seen its fortunes considerably turned around, both in respect to its operations and its financial situation.
The process included an evaluation of the plant strategy, as well as the plant structure. Put simply the study on the optimisation of the production structure favoured the Finnish plant.
"This has been a difficult decision, but I am sure that this will strengthen Elopak and the company's ability to offer secure employment on longer term", said president and CEO Bjørn Flatgård.
The closing of the Spikkestad manufacturing plant will have a direct effect on 60 jobs in Norway. An expansion and production increase in Lahti is expected to be accomplished without considerable changes in the existing workforce. The production shift will start from the beginning of 2004 and will be completed within August the same year. A programme for actively supporting employees during this transition period will be developed together with employees' representatives.
Elopak Group Headquarters, the Elopak Technical Centre, shall remain as central activity hubs in Norway, and the market unit in Norway will continue to serve the customers in Norway and Iceland, the company said.