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Sonoco Mulls Irish Plant Closure

While it's not a done deal just yet, consumer packaging specialist Sonoco  (NYSE: SON  ) announced yesterday it will consult with the workforce of its Carrickmacross, Ireland, facility regarding its closure come Nov. 1.

The plant, which makes thermoformed packages for food processors in Ireland and other parts of Europe, lost volume and profitability over the past several years, a pattern that continues in 2013. Sonoco says that leaves it with no viable option other than to consider closing the facility.

Saying it's not a reflection on the levels of commitment, safety, quality, and productivity of the workers, Jeff DiPasquale, Sonoco VP and GM of thermoforming, said shifting market conditions and a financially challenging competitive environment forced its hand in the decision.

"If a shut-down of the facility is the final outcome," DiPasquale said, "we will work diligently to ensure the closing of the Carrickmacross facility goes as smoothly as possible, not only for our employees, but also for our loyal customers, with minimal disruption to the quality and service they have come to expect."

In the event the plant does shut down, Sonoco expects the layoffs won't begin until October, after which it will gradually scale back operations. The target for the plant closure is Nov. 1, but until the final decision is reached, operations will continue as normal. 

Should closure be the decision made, Sonoco will consider alternatives such as retirement, voluntary redundancies, and possible redeployment to other Sonoco operations to help minimize the impact.

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