Owens-Illinois invests US$60m in Europe to meet growing demand for glass packaging

Owens-Illinois invests US$60m in Europe to meet growing demand for glass packaging

14 Mar 2019 --- Glass manufacturer Owens-Illinois, Inc., (O-I) is set to make a significant investment of US$60 million in its European glass operation. This investment will enable O-I to grow in premium segments, increase capability and flexibility, as well as improve the company’s environmental footprint, the company describes.

O-I will invest more than US$60 million to expand its plant in Gironcourt, France. Plans include building a new furnace for a total of three furnaces at the plant when the expansion project is completed in early 2020. The expansion at Gironcourt will focus on the growing premium beer segment which is highly differentiated and uses unique bottle shapes to build strong, premium brand equity. 

Indulgence is still key in NPD for alcoholic beverages, as companies continue to offer high-end artisanal and handcrafted liqueurs using seasonal flavors and novel ingredients. Premium offerings are often packaged in glass, which remains to be the material of choice for alcoholic beverages, according to Innova Market Insights research.

“Our customers recognize that glass brings unique brand building capabilities. It delivers what consumers want: premium, healthy and sustainable packaging,” says Andres Lopez, CEO, “The expansion at Gironcourt is an important part of O-I’s investment strategy to support the growing demand for glass in premium segments.”

This expansion supporting organic growth follows the recent transaction to acquire nearly 50 percent interest in Empresas Comegua S.A., a manufacturer of glass containers for the Central American and Caribbean markets. This inorganic growth investment connects the Company’s footprint across the Americas – extending from Canada to Argentina. 

Click to EnlargeNitrogenated draught beer for on-the-go consumption from Guinnes.O-I, who had a turnover of US$6.9 billion in 2018, is also driving innovation in the glass segment evidenced by the development of MAGMA, an initiative to reimagine glassmaking with transformational technology and new processes. Additionally, O-I recently launched O-I: EXPRESSIONS, a direct-to-glass digital printing technology offering customization at speed, value and flexible volumes.

Regarding the market for alcoholic beverages and the material used, despite glass continuing to be the material of choice, there is a rise in alternative packaging formats for traditional categories. Examples include cans and bag-in-box formats gaining popularity in the wine space.

Innovations in can packaging include the nitro can, which replicates the sensory characteristics of a nitrogenated draught beer for on-the-go consumption and Carlsberg's Snap Pack, which provides a reduction in waste produced from single-use plastic shrink wraps. 

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