By Bill Kirk
NORTH ANDOVER — Solo Cup Company announced yesterday it is closing three manufacturing faciltiies, including one on Holt Road that employs 360 people.
The closing of the three plants — and the loss of 1,240 jobs — is a result of increased efficiency at the company's remaining plants along with a decline in demand for its products.
The North Andover and Springfield, Missouri plants will close by the middle or end of next year, while a plant in Owings Mills, Maryland, will close in 2012.
The shutdown of the Maryland plant will mean job losses for 540 people, while the Missouri plant closure will result in layoffs of 340 workers.
"These decisions are never easy because we know they affect the lives of our employees and their families," said Robert M. Korzenski, president and chief executive officer of the Lake Forest, Illinois-based company. "It was important to us to give them as much advance notice as possible and we will work to make it a smooth transition for them. We are grateful for their years of dedicated service to Solo."
All affected employees will have the opportunity to pursue employment at other Solo facilities and will be given priority over other candidates.
"We have invested approximately $150 million over the past two years to upgrade our manufacturing assets and increase the efficiency of our operations," said George Chappelle, chief operating officer of Solo Cup. "As a result, we are now able to be more productive within a smaller manufacturing footprint.
"Continuous improvement is critical to remaining competitive and to positioning the company for growth, especially as the market for our products has contracted in the difficult economy."
Solo Cup Company is a $1.5 billion company exclusively focused on the manufacture of singleuse products used to serve food and beverages for the consumer/retail, foodservice and international markets.
Solo has broad product offerings available in paper, plastic, foam, postconsumer recycled content and annually renewable materials, and creates brand name products under the Solo, Sweetheart and Bare by Solo names.
The company was established in 1936 and has a global presence with facilities in Canada, Europe, Mexico, Panama and the United States.
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For more on this story, see tomorrow's editions of The Eagle-Tribune.