Ardagh announced it was closing its glass bottle production plant in February 2019, axing 150 jobs and redirecting customers to its other North American glass facilities.
At the time the company said the closure was ‘a footprint adjustment’, combined with ‘ongoing cost reduction, to enhance its competitiveness.
Ardagh Group sold its Milford, Massachusetts facility to New Mill Capital in December 2018. Since then it has spent millions turning the 322,000-square-foot facility into a distribution center due to increased demand for similar facilities in the Boston area.
New Mill Capital now plans to hold an online auction for over 500 items from the Ardagh Group Glass Bottle Production Plant from January 15-22.
Items include glass cool down ovens, Munson mixers, bottle inspection, bead blast equipment, air compressors and dryers, strapping, pallet wrappers, spray booths and additional plant support.
Interested parties will be able to inspect the equipment prior to auction by scheduling an appointment. Additional information regarding the online-only equipment auction can be found at www.newmillcapital.com
New Mill Capital also plans to repurpose the 300,000 square foot building in the coming year.
Ardagh Group’s Q4 2017 earnings report saw its North American glass packaging revenue decline by 14% to €337m in Q4 compared to the same period the previous year.
“On a constant currency basis revenue was 8% lower, due mainly to lower volumes, in particular in the beer and wine end markets,” it said.
“Adjusted EBITDA decreased by 28% to €61m in Q4, compared with the same period in 2016.”
A review of its Glass North America division at that time led to closure of its Milford, Massachusetts facility; pursuing growth opportunities in stronger performing end markets such as food, wine and spirits; reduction in the mass beer category and revision of its freight and logistics structure.
“There has been a great level of interest in the Milford, MA property and while Lincoln, IL is a different market, we certainly see potential for the property going forward.” said Eric Weiler, principal, New Mill Capital.
“Once we have completed the equipment disposition process we’ll determine the best fit use for the real estate going forward.”
Ardagh Group said in its Q2 2018 earnings report in October last year: “We have continued to focus on a broad range of internal initiatives to improve our competitive position. These involve adapting our footprint to best match current and projected market conditions, whilst seeking to target benefits from increased automation, continuous training and greater labour flexibility.
“Much activity has been under way in the quarter and we have now decided: the furnace at our Ruston, Louisiana, plant, which we suspended in July 2018, will now be permanently closed. Ruston will continue to serve a predominantly local and regional customer base, with a more cost-effective freight configuration.
“Secondly, our investment to re-deploy beer capacity to serve better-performing end markets such as wine and spirits, enables us to avoid the scheduled rebuilding of one furnace at our Seattle, Washington, plant. This furnace will now be permanently closed around the end of this year.”
It said in a statement: “These footprint adjustments are intended to underpin the medium and long-term prospects of our North American Glass business.
“We have previously highlighted how the North American glass industry, including Ardagh, needs to address its labour costs if it is to sustain long-term competitiveness and justify continued investment. This reflects the striking differential in all-in labour costs between North America and other markets, including Europe. We want to work with our colleagues in the coming quarters to secure a competitive and sustainable footprint, from which we can move forward.
“In the past decade in our European Glass business we have seen the benefits of capacity rightsizing and enhanced flexibility, backed by investment in our asset base. Improved competitiveness has supported a stable footprint and high-quality, skilled jobs, despite considerable economic volatility in the region over the past decade.
“We are now seeking to do the same in Glass North America and, whilst it has had a challenging year, we will continue to identify and implement additional measures to restore it to appropriate levels of profitability.”