Steel can manufacturer Ball Metalpack plans to close its Springdale plant and cut 76 full-time positions there by the end of the second quarter of 2020.
The company will gradually phase out work at the plant as it continues to produce steel containers for food and aerosol products, said Jim Peterson, CEO of Ball Metalpack. The plant’s remaining operations will be transferred to six of the company’s eight plants in the United States, including those in DeForest, Wis., Canton, Ohio, Columbus, Ohio, Horsham, Pa., and Chestnut Hill, Tenn.
“These facilities are closer to our customers’ filling locations, allowing us to optimize our manufacturing footprint and provide the best possible service and delivery,” Peterson said. “Specific production volumes for each plant will be determined in the coming year.”
The company encouraged employees at the Springdale plant to apply for other open positions in the business. The workers will receive severance and outplacement benefits. Ball Metalpack plans to sell the building at 1200 S. Crutcher St. where the plant is located after it closes.
Bill Rogers, vice president of communications and special projects for the Springdale Chamber of Commerce, said the company had previously informed the chamber about the potential for some changes in the company. The hope was the jobs would be retained.
“Ball canning, and originally Heekin canning, it’s been a part of Springdale’s industrial base for many, many, many years,” Rogers said. “You certainly hope that those that are employed there will be able to find a new position in this very, very tight employment market. I think that’s the one bright spot. There are so many positions available in Springdale and in Northwest Arkansas.”
The unemployment rates in Springdale and Northwest Arkansas are among the lowest in the state, he said. Through September, the unemployment rate was 2.2% in both Springdale and Bentonville, 2.3% in Rogers and 2.4% in Fayetteville, according to the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services.
In June 2018, packaging and aerospace company Ball Corp. of Broomfield, Colo., entered into a joint venture with global investment firm Platinum Equity of Los Angeles to form Ball Metalpack and named Peterson as the CEO of the venture. The Springdale plant was one of nine steel can manufacturing plants that became part of the new company. Platinum Equity owns 51% of the new company, while Ball Corp. owns 49%.