Canadian Packaging

Glassmaker Closes Plant


October 28, 2008
by Canadian Packaging Staff

About 300 employees at the Owens-Illinois, Inc. (O-I) plant in Lavington, B.C., will lose their jobs at the end of the month as the world’s largest glass container manufacturer continues the “ongoing review of its global manufacturing footprint” that has cost Canada’s package manufacturing industry nearly 1,000 full-time jobs this year.

Last month, the Perrysburg, Ohio-headquartered glass giant shut down the doors of its 430-employee Toronto manufacturing facility—just months after closing down a 200-employee plant in Scoudouc, N.B., in March.

Existing production at the Lavington plant—originally opened up in 1969 under the Consumer’s Glass banner—will be transferred to the company’s U.S. plants, according to O-I.

“This closing was driven by our ongoing global asset utilization process which identified the opportunity to shift our production to other O-I North American facilities, resulting in lower energy consumption and production costs while still meeting current and anticipated market needs,” says Scott Murchison, president of the company’s North America Glass Containers division.

As for the Toronto plant closure, announced last July, O-I cites the high Canadian dollar, soaring energy prices and an “anti-glass policy” at LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) as chief reasons for mothballing the underused facility.

Despite the deep cost-cutting this year, O-I has been posting stellar financial results as of late—reporting a record profit of US$232 million for the second quarter ended June 30—up 65 per cent from the year before—and an 11-percent sales increase up to US$2.2 billion.

Established in 2003, the company currently employs more than 24,000 people at 82 manufacturing facilities in 22 countries—posting combined sales of US$7.6 billion last year.