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Sonoco pumps $20m into composite can packaging plant

By Jenni Spinner+

21-Apr-2014

Increased snack consumption in Asia is driving Sonoco to build a $20m composite-can plant in Malaysia.
Increased snack consumption in Asia is driving Sonoco to build a $20m composite-can plant in Malaysia.

Packaging giant Sonoco is investing $20m in construction of a composite-can plant in Malaysia, taking advantage of regional growth in snack sales.

The company has announced plans to erect a high-speed composite can production facility near Kuala Lumpur. The facility will concentrate on producing packaging products for the snack foods sector.

Snack-hungry consumers

Brian Risinger, manager of corporate communications for Sonoco, told FoodProductionDaily consumers in Malaysia and other parts of the region are increasingly purchasing chips, crackers, and other snack products.

What we are finding is in the Asian markets we serve, as their middle class expands and purchasing power increases, we are just seeing greater demand for a wide range of snack foods and other products, which tends to follow an increase in disposable income,” he said. “We are also seeing great creativity from our customers in terms of product creation, marketing and promotion, which is helping to drive demand.”

Jack Sanders, Sonoco president and CEO, said the increased hunger for snack foods dictates the company pursue additional plants and other growth strategies.

"Continued growth for packaged snacks in Southeast Asia requires we build our third composite can plant in Malaysia,” he said. “The new facility will more than triple our current can production capacity in Malaysia."

Equipment additions

The packaging firm plans to put in place three high-speed composite can lines, in addition to two metal end presses. Also, an extrusion laminator will be installed at the Sonoco flexible packaging plant in Kajang, Malaysia, to make can liners.

The first can line reportedly will be installed in the third quarter of 2014 and begin commercial production in the first quarter of 2015. All three lines, the metal end presses, and the extrusion laminator will be up and running by the end of 2015.

Sanders added the firm’s latest composite-can facility will mark the company’s first extended supply chain services for composite can customers.

"In addition to producing all components for the finished composite cans, we will provide and run sophisticated depalletizing equipment at our customer's production facility," he said.

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