Rexam today opened a new can manufacturing plant in Southern Finland, and claims the £68m ($107m) investment is partly inspired by a pack mix shift in beer sales from glass to cans in the country.
The three-year investment in Mäntsälä over three years will see two lines opened by 2014, with a site providing a total annual capacity of approximately 1.35bn 330ml and 500ml aluminum cans.
Talking up strong growth in The Nordics in general and Finland, Rexam claimed that the latter had experienced a steady transition from glass bottles to can filling.
A spokeswoman for the company told BeverageDaily.com that the new plant would serve Finland and the Baltic States. Asked why the firm saw the Mantsala location as strategic, she added: "It is close to our customers in the region and so logistically the plant is in a good location for Rexam."
Rexam CEO, Graham Chipchase, said: “We have seen a growing demand for beverage cans in Finland and the Baltic States, in particular the can’s share of the pack mix for beer in Finland, which has grown from 10% to 60% over the past five years.”
Data sent by the company to BeverageDaily.com shows that, across the beverage can industry, the number of can fillings in Finland per years has grown massively in recent years.
Growth really took off from 2006 (363m cans filled per year), with 535m cans filled in 2007, 722m in 2008, 899m in 2009, 1.041bn in 2010, 1.235bn in 2011 and 1.294bn in 2012.
Chipchase added that the investment supported Rexam’s European growth strategy, and “will allow us to serve our customers better in the region and enhance the overall efficiency of our network of beverage cans across Europe”.
Beyond strong growth in beer as a spur to the investment, what other categories were fueling growth for Rexam in the region? "Beer is the primary driver, but carbonated soft drinks are also growing in the region," the spokeswoman said.
Asked if Rexam planned to add further capacity in The Nordics or Baltic States, the spokeswoman simply reiterated the company's intention to inaugurate its second Finnish line in 2014.