CANPACK Group: Poland-based Packaging Manufacturer Expands Globally, Enters US Market

CANPACK Group: US Facility

CANPACK Group: US Facility

Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna County is heading back to the future thanks in part to a $366 million investment by a Polish manufacturer of packaging products – the area’s largest financial commitment in over a half century. Once one of the leading industrial capitals in America, this lush valley nestled along the Lackawanna River took on a welcome new shine after CANPACK Group of Poland announced plans to build the company’s first US manufacturing facility near Scranton – a proud city enjoying a cultural renaissance and where the county’s newest Medical School calls home.

Covering a surface equal to about eleven soccer fields and bringing more than 400 high quality jobs to the area, CANPACK Group’s state-of-the-art plant is slated to start the production of aluminium cans by the end of next year.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is excited that a previously abandoned brownfield site returns to productive use: “CANPACK Group is known throughout the world for its manufacturing strength, and we are thrilled that the company has chosen Pennsylvania for its entry into North America.”

Governor Wolf called the investment in Lackawanna County ‘historic’ and emphasised the company’s dedication to the pursuit of excellence in corporate citizenship. Earlier this year, CANPACK Group joined the United Nations Global Compact, a business framework underpinned by a set of ten sustainability principles. Signatories commit to proactively support and further the UN’s global sustainable development goals.

“By thinking and acting in a sustainable manner, we recognise our responsibility as an employer, packaging manufacturer, member of local community, and business partner. Our three pillars of sustainable development – care, sustain, recycle – clearly define the direction of CANPACK’s activities and reflect the expectations of all company’s stakeholders,” assures Group CEO Roberto Villaquiran who joined the company last year to accelerate growth, broach new markets, and boost innovation.

“CANPACK Group is known throughout the world for its manufacturing strength, and we are thrilled that the company has chosen Pennsylvania for its entry into North America.”

With well over thirty years’ worth of experience in the packaging industry, Villaquiran is particularly thrilled with his company’s first foray into the US: “Our customers are amongst the largest beverage producers in the world. In order to be their partner, we need to be here, in the United States.”

In a way, the vast facility being erected in Lackawanna County represents a novel experience for the company. At the brownfield site, in Olyphant Borough just to the northeast of Scranton, a long-vacated industrial complex had to be demolished to make way for the new plant.

Global Expansion

CANPACK Group usually develops greenfield sites such as the 65,000m2 industrial plot it acquired in Tocancipá, just north of the Colombian capital city Bogotá, where the company late last year inaugurated a plant capable of churning out up to 1.3 billion aluminium beverage cans annually.

Though the initial plan called for a production volume of 1.3 billion cans a year, capacity will be scaled up to 1.9 billion within months of the official opening to accommodate the exceptionally strong demand. The Colombian facility was the first of its kind to offer customers bespoke sizes besides the 330ml and 355ml industry standards.

The company moves and acts in tandem with its customers. The brand-new plant in Colombia was built to supply AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer. “The decision to speed up expansion into the South American market was founded upon the strong and trust-based relationship CANPACK Group has established with AB InBev,” says Peter F Giorgi, CEO of the group’s parent company Giorgi Global Holdings.

With operations spanning five continents, CANPACK Group maintains 28 manufacturing facilities, employs nearly 8,000 people, and markets its products in over 100 countries. In its corporate trajectory of thirty years, the company has come to lead the beverage packaging sector in Central and Eastern Europe before striking out further afield.

Building on its success, the group has expanded progressively into Western Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, attaining a global footprint in the process and gaining economies of scale that drive both growth and profits. CANPACK Group believes it is now the fourth largest manufacturer of aluminium cans in the world with an installed annual production capacity that exceeds 26 billion units. The group also produces some 18 billion bottle closures and around 700 million pieces of metal containers for the food industries in addition to 2 billion pieces of glass packaging a year.

This dynamic approach to business has allowed CANPACK Group to significantly broaden its geographical footprint which, in turn, minimises the company’s exposure to economic downturns whilst adding to both corporate resilience and sustainability. “That is very important to us and to our customers,” says Villaquiran: “Care, sustain, and recycle are keys to delivering on sustainability and meeting the expectations of all stakeholders.” In Poland, its home market, CANPACK Group has helped to create and maintain a recycling chain that is considered amongst the most efficient in Europe and manages to reclaim and re-use up to 80 percent of packaging materials employed.

In the US, CANPACK Group’s new facility will also boast an onsite Center of Excellence comprised of an operations and customer experience center to showcase the company’s research and development efforts, lithographic expertise, accomplishments, and capabilities, and – crucially – how these translate into a tangible value proposition.

Value Proposition

Recognising that packaging is where the product meets the consumers’ eye, CANPACK Group has been pushing the envelope with solutions that are not just in tune with environmental considerations, but also connect with consumers in a meaningful way, enhancing and energising their experience with products that stand out.

Analysts agree that the use of metal conveys a premium feel to packaging and addresses consumer concerns over recycling. The company offers beverage containers in twenty different sizes and finishes. CANPACK Group has also pioneered a number of technologies that improve the design and printing possibilities, support efficiencies along the production process as well as enable to significantly lower the packaging’s environmental impact.

The outlay is expected to pay off handsomely as the global light metal packaging market is set for strong and sustained growth according to a recent industry insiders report.

The group’s customers have been quite receptive to the company’s continued robust growth. CEO Villaquiran explains that since 2017, his company has either opened new factories, or expanded existing ones, at a clip of two per year. Industry insiders expect CANPACK Group to keep up its present growth rate for the foreseeable future.

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