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O-I invests €21m in beer bottle plant

Owens-Illinois, a global leader in glass packaging, has completed a €21m investment at its Leerdam plant in the Netherlands to enhance its capabilities and better support the brewing industry in the Benelux market.  

O-I’s investment includes a furnace rebuild, machine upgrades and new process and quality equipment to strengthen the plant’s production and quality capabilities. The company expects a 15 per cent decrease in CO2 emissions as a result of this investment.

O-I Europe’s president, Erik Bouts, says: “The investment at our Leerdam facility is part of O-I’s strategy to significantly strengthen our competitiveness and capabilities in Europe. In 2013, we will be investing €140m in our European operations,” said Bouts. “Over the next several years, we will accelerate our efforts to enhance O-I’s capabilities to better support the growing needs of our European customers.”

Gerard Pille, sales and distribution director of O-I Benelux adds: "This investment demonstrates O-I’s commitment to support the growth ambitions of both our multinational and regional brewers in the important Benelux market, while continuing the great tradition of glassmaking in this community.

"Some of Europe’s leading brewers are headquartered in the Benelux and I am delighted to say that they are all customers of O-I.  But we are equally pleased to to be part of  the Belgium and Dutch beer success stories by supporting many regional and local brewers with high quality, brand building glass containers in Benelux. Eighty percent of the bottles that we are producing in the Leerdam facility, are being filled by world-famous brands based in Benelux. Over 1 billion beer bottles are produced at Leerdam every year.

"We collaborate closely with our customers, both large and small, to ensure we can provide the brand-building glass packaging they need for their go-to-market strategies. As our customers seek their next success, they demand increasingly high standards for quality, sustainability and competitiveness from O-I. That is the fundament on which we have built this investment decision in Leerdam."

O-I has rebuilt the L6 furnace and upgraded its quality and process equipment with new  inspection technology introduced at the Cold End. "This enables us to inspect more complex containers – the kinds of bottles which feature the distinctive decorative treatments favoured by many brewers today to create a premium positioning for their brands," says Pille.

The Leerdam plant is one of three O-I plants in the Netherlands. The plant employs 300 people. Each year, its three furnaces produce more than one billion bottles in amber and green glass for the Benelux beer market.

O-I’s European operations comprise  8,000 employees in 11 countries, with more than €2.1 billion of sales in 2012. This represents approximately 40 percent of the company’s global sales.

25 March 2013 - Felicity Murray