Ball’s Torrance plant to close as part of restructure

US can making giant Ball Corporation has announced plans to reorganise its operations as the company aims to decrease its overall installed beverage can capacity in North America.

As a result of the restructure, Ball is closing one of its larger plants, transferring a production line and expanding speciality can production.

Ball will close its beverage can plant in Torrance, California, by the end of the third quarter of 2011, subject to customer requirements.

The 45-year-old plant employs approximately 120 people and operates three lines, two that produce 12oz cans and one that produces 16oz cans. One of the 12oz production lines from Torrance will be relocated to Ball’s plant in Whitby, Ontario. This is scheduled to start up during the second quarter of 2011.

Ball is expecting to record a total after-tax charge of approximately $12.4 million in 2011, primarily for employee severance and pensions and facility clean-up costs, of which $6.4 million is expected to be recorded in the first quarter of 2011. The closure is expected to be cash flow positive to Ball upon final settlement of all closure-related costs and disposition of all assets and will result in significant fixed cost savings to the company.

Ball, the largest producer of specialty beverage cans in North America, will expand specialty beverage can production in its Fort Worth, Texas, plant. The company supplies beverage cans in more than 20 sizes as well as other beverage can innovations. A new line in Fort Worth will make 16 and 24oz specialty cans and is expected to begin production by the start of the third quarter of 2011.

“These actions support our strategy of growing Ball’s beverage can business while better aligning our manufacturing footprint with changing market demand and increasing operational efficiencies,” says Raymond Seabrook (pictured), executive vice president and chief operating officer, global packaging. “The strong demand for specialty cans, especially for beer, teas, energy drinks and other beverages, continues to drive volume for Ball. The output of the Whitby and Fort Worth lines is contracted to customers under multi-year agreements.”

Torrance employees will be provided with severance and outplacement services. They will also be able to apply for open positions within Ball.

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