by Roeslein Roeslein

Published in and written by  The Canmaker

Since its establishment in 1992, a dynamic investment culture has turned Can-Pack into one of the fastest-growing canmakers in the world. The Polish company has continued to open up new plants on a regular basis, with the Netherlands its latest destination.

Half-an-hour’s drive from Eindhoven is the small town of Helmond. This was the location for the €100 million ($116m) investment, with the canmaking plant claimed to be one of the most sustainable and energy-efficient in Europe, according to Can-Pack Netherlands general manager Marco Snoeren. He told The Canmaker that because of the plant’s location, fewer truck movements are necessary, giving a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions amounting to about 4,500 tonnes a year.

Can-Pack’s latest plant is located at Helmond in the Netherlands

Snoeren was speaking at the official opening of the plant, which is based within one of Europe’s most densely-packed regional drinks markets with a number of beer and beverage canners that use around 6.3 billion cans every year.

“85 percent of the cans produced here will be distributed to within 150km of the plant in the Benelux countries, France and Germany, which will allow us to save substantially on transport costs. Previously, the cans we sent out to the region came from our facilities in the UK or Poland,” said Snoeren.

“The plant will also be able to offer BPA-free coatings if the customer requires it and as far as the construction of the facility goes, we have installed brand new high-end machinery with the latest technology available on the global market.”

The facility has an annual production capacity of two billion cans

Like many of Can-Pack’s beverage can plants, the construction of Can-Pack Netherlands met stringent return-on-investment criteria. With project management and engineering being carried out by US-based Roeslein & Associates, civil works were completed in October 2016, and with the first canmaking line installed, test runs started in March 2017.

By July, the second production line was running and cans were being made with a target of reaching full capacity.

Can-Pack SA is owned by US-based Giorgi Global Holdings whose president and chief executive Peter Giorgi cut the tape to declare the plant officially opened in November, with the ceremony taking place at the facility. The warehouse was transformed into a function room complete with high walls of pallets of cans. This was then followed by a laser show and waterfall once the ribbon was cut.

Giorgi spoke to The Canmaker about the investment: “Customers appreciate our product quality and service levels. Therefore to grow with them, not only in central and eastern Europe but also in western Europe, is a logical evolution. In that context, the Benelux region is an attractive environment to operate in. Our ambition is to be the best partner in growth for our customers. The Helmond plant will contribute to this goal through its large scale offering of a diverse set of high-quality can sizes.”

The canmaking plant and the adjacent warehouse cover a total area of 40,000 square metres. The factory is claimed to be the biggest-ever investment by a Polish company in the Netherlands. Poland’s president Andrzej Duda addressed the participants and organisers of the opening ceremony in the form of a letter, saying that the facility was a testament to the close relations between the two nations.

Among those attending the Helmond plant opening were Can-Pack Netherlands general manager Marco Snoeren (second from left); Ewoud Nieuwenhuis, Global Category Lead Metal at Heineken Global Procurement (sixth from left); and Peter Giorgi,president and chairman of the board at Giorgi Global Holdings and Can-Pack (third from right)

Duda said: “I am convinced that the quality of products manufactured in Helmond will be appreciated in the markets of the Benelux countries, Germany and France and that they will evoke positive associations with Poland. I commend all those who have contributed to the achievements of Can-Pack Group, which, being one of the most dynamic Polish companies operating in the metal sector, is consistently investing and achieving success in numerous countries in Europe and across the globe. Your attainments prove that it is absolutely realistic for Polish enterprises to aspire for a place among most recognisable, most competitive brands, capable of facing up to the challenge of the global expansion.”

With a local work force of more than 250, employment in the province of Noord-Brabant has also been increased with this investment. This is why the Brabant Development Agency worked with the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, Brainport Development and the city of Helmond to support the canmaker in the establishment.

However, the Helmond plant is just another in a long line of high-profile investments from Can-Pack, which built its first beverage can plant in Poland more than 25 years ago. It has steadily grown with operations in Romania, Finland, Ukraine, Russia, the Philippines, UAE, Morocco, the UK, India and Brazil. It makes food cans, closures and glass bottles, but aluminium beverage cans are its largest segment with total output estimated at more than 12 billion units a year.

Peter Giorgi was on hand to provide an update on what the future holds for the company: “In Brazil we have recently produced our first cans in Itumbiara and are on track with our conversion to aluminium in Fortaleza. Our North India plant construction is on track and the warehouse roof is on; the pillars of the production area are being erected. In 2017 and 2018, our new plant projects are in the Netherlands, Brazil and India. In Romania we are adding a second line.”

He continued: “We see growth in demand for aluminium beverage cans in many parts of the world. In many mature markets we see cans still gaining share as the packaging of choice, driven by convenience and the positive properties of the permanent material aluminium. In emerging markets both beverage consumption levels and the attractiveness of the can drive growth.”

With the backing of ambitious owners as well as an increase in demand, Can-Pack’s global expansion looks set to continue.