Alcan packaging plant targets emerging markets

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union

Alcan Packaging has started production trials at a new flexible packaging plant in the Czech Republic as part of its strategy to strengthen its position in the growth markets of Central and Eastern Europe.

“We are already very strong in Western Europe and see expansion in Eastern Europe as a key to broaden our markets”,​ an Alcan spokeswoman told FoodProductionDaily.com.

The France-based company, which is a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, announced the €17m facility in Novy Bydzov will focus mainly on the production and printing of high quality rotogravure flexible packing.

The factory, the company’s fourth in Eastern Europe, will employ 100 workers when it reaches full production capacity, has been earmarked to supply emerging food markets in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the Germanic and Nordic regions.

Business as usual

The announcement on the plant, which is scheduled to reach full production by the end of January 2010, comes just days before the European Commission is due to gives its decision over the proposed takeover by Australian company Amcor.

“For now we continue to work business as usual for Alcan Packaging and we remain a competitor of Amcor until a final decision is made,"​ added the company spokeswoman.

Following customers

Michael Cronin, president, Alcan Packaging Food Europe, said: “This state-of-the-art facility is another important step in our strategy to follow our customers to the growth markets of Central and Eastern Europe.”

The packaging chief highlighted the swift pace of the company’s project planning and execution, saying the initiative had gone from decision to start up in 17 months.

“[It] clearly demonstrates our ability to respond rapidly to our customers' demands and requirements,”​ Cronin added.

Amcor takeover

Alcan Packaging Food Europe, a leading flexible packaging player in Europe, operates 31 plants in 18 countries. The business is expected to be sold off as part of the $2.025bn takeover by Amcor. In a recent statement, company managing director Ken MacKenzie said the business would “complement Amcor’s existing operations in higher growth regions”.

Amcor said last month it would be willing to sell off one of its own flexible packaging units to address European Union anti-trust fears over its proposed takeover of Alcan. The announcement came after the Commission said it would push back its review of the deal by two weeks from 30 November to 14 December.

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