EUROPE – AR Packaging, one of Europe’s leading companies in the packaging sector with a turnover of US$662 million, has announced it will close down two carton plants in Russia and Finland, affecting 150 jobs.

The company currently operates three plants in Russia and said its sales volume development do not justify having all three operational plants in the region as the price pressure also increases.

“ÅR Packaging has gained significant new business in targeted segments as set in our strategy. After a successful integration of the businesses acquired during latest years, we now take a holistic view on our footprint,” said ÅR Packaging CEO Harald Schulz.

“Strong skill centres and further site specialisation through focused technology and know-how will increase the group’s ability to lead future developments while aligning presence to optimal locations.

We have a vast investment programme in place, which includes for example four new printing machine installations during 2016-2018 as well as expansion of our plants in Krakow, Poland, and Tabasalu, Estonia.

It supports our ambitious growth plan in a very good way.”

ÅR Packaging also said its cost base needs to be substantially reduced and asset utilisation increased, in order to be competitive and profitable on the Nordic carton market.

The company therefore decided to shut its Kauttua production facility in Finland, but the sales, customer service and product development functions will remain at the site.

Its Moscow carton site will also shut, with the group serving the Russian market from its two plants in St Petersburg and Timashevsk, as they increase their production capacities.

The employees will be offered positions at other locations ‘to the utmost extent feasible’.