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Ball invests €20m in Eastern European plants in response to “unprecedented demand”

Ball Packaging Europe is investing €20m in two of its beverage can plants in Poland and East Germany to meet fast-growing demand, especially in Poland.

The metal packaging specialist says upgrades to both facilities will increase total annual production capacity at the Radomsko plant in Poland and the Hermsdorf site in Germany by around half a billion cans. Enhancements to canmaking lines will see the additional volumes available from early next year.

Ball says data from trade organisation Beverage Can Makers Europe suggests the European beverage can market is seeing unprecedented growth, having increased by 8 per cent to around 45 billion cans in 2006. This year growth to date is reported to already be “topping 10 per cent”, with the highest rate in Poland. In 2006, the BCME data reveals, Polish bevcan volumes rose by almost 25 per cent, a level which has already reached 30 per cent this year. Meanwhile bevcans’ share of the Polish beer market has doubled over the past few years – to over 40%.

Having first come on stream in 1995, the Radomsko plant employs some 160 today, producing 1.5bn 330 and 500ml aluminium cans annually for carbonated soft drinks and beers. The Hermsdorf factory began operation in 1992 and, having initially manufactured 500ml steel cans for German customers, switched to aluminium can production in 2004 to supply the growing Eastern European market. Today, from its central European location, the 150-strong facility makes 1.6bn bevcans annually for international and regional breweries in Germany, Benelux and Eastern Europe.