The Sweden-based company yesterday unveiled plans to halt production of cartons at its facility in Wrexham, and change the site into a finishing warehouse. It has launched a consultation period with the 265 employees at the Welsh factory.
“The necessity to enter into consultation is primarily due to market changes over time, which have resulted in many products now being offered in other packaging formats as well as cartons,” said Tetra Pak in a statement to FoodProductionDaily.com.
The firm said that until now the fall in demand for products from Wrexham to the UK and Irish sectors had been replaced by supplying export markets. In 2009, this accounted for around 50 per cent of total production. But from 2011, Wrexham will no longer be required to support these markets as local factories – particularly in Russia and the Middle East – can now provide for their own needs, said Tetra Pak.
“The last 20 years has seen a changing market in the UK,” company spokesman Rupert Maitland-Titterton said. “In milk packaging for example, plastic has become an important format in that time. The UK and Ireland are now too small a local market to justify dedicated production in Wrexham.”
He added that the plant was involved in manufacturing some of the company’s older carton formats and that demand in the UK for these had fallen.
Tetra Pak UK said its proposal had been table to allow the company to remain competitive.
“Our proposal is that we will remain in Wrexham with around 135 jobs,” said UK managing director Rik Jacobs. “We intend to create over 20 new jobs to operate a finished goods warehouse to better service the UK and Irish markets and ensure we are in the right shape for future growth.”