CCL to close in Penetang: 170 jobs gone
As if Ontario’s financial news couldn’t be worse, it is: CCL Industries announces it is closing its plant in Penetang.
Penetang factory closure to put 170 out of work
CCL Industries to wind up local operations by mid-2015
PENETANGUISHENE – Approximately 170 employees of CCL Industries Inc. learned Friday morning that the Penetanguishene plant will close by no later than the middle of 2015.
“The plant has been unprofitable since 2009, and posted sizable losses during the economic crisis,” president and CEO Geoffrey Martin stated in a press release. “Although results improved in 2012 and 2013, the operation continues to make losses; consequently, we feel it is now time to make this difficult decision.”
The company, which produces aluminum aerosol cans and bottles for consumer packaged goods, made the decision “with great regret,” Martin said, adding the closure of the Robert Street East operation will commence in the first half of 2014 and be completed by no later than mid-2015.
Company officials met with Penetanguishene Mayor Gerry Marshall on Friday morning to notify him of the decision and the rationale behind it.
“It’s crippling in a lot of ways,” Marshall said when asked about the impact on the town. “These are well-paying jobs…. The impact on those families is going to be heartbreaking.”
Martin said the affected employees will receive “appropriate severance and other benefits,” plus assistance with developing transition plans.
“Many of them have long tenure with CCL, so early notice of the closure gives reasonable time to consider options,” he said. “These will include outplacement assistance embracing, where possible, international transfers within CCL Container and domestic opportunities at our CCL Label and Avery business units.”
Sean Washchuk, the company’s senior vice-president and chief financial officer, said it has been a struggle to remain competitive with a high Canadian dollar and a customer base that had shifted entirely to the United States.
“We really tried to run the business as best we could for the last five years,” he said. “It wasn’t for a lack of effort or trying things to help the business along, but … some of it was just beyond our control.”
Marshall said the town is similarly powerless to do anything to convince CCL to stay. He also rejected the notion that his regular communications with local employers should have tipped him off to looming problems at the plant.
“We stay (in touch) on a continuing basis, but, in this particular case, that card was just held close to the vest,” he said. “I had no inkling those kinds of decisions were being made at the executive level.
“Certainly, we’ve always been worried about CCL in terms of they’ve had layoffs … but you always hope for the best.”