Low & Bonar to close two UK plants

LOW & BONAR, the plastics and packaging company, has warned that it will close two of its UK plants with the loss of up to 225 jobs after the completion of the pounds 67.5m acquisition of Waddington Cartons, announced yesterday.

Low & Bonar said it would close one of its plants at Speke, near Liverpool, and a machinery business in Swindon. The Speke site is dedicated to a contract with Kelloggs, which is not being renewed, and the company says it will struggle to find another owner. Low & Bonar announced in July it would not be renewing the Kelloggs contract when it runs out in April 2000.

Low & Bonar's new acquisition, Leeds-based Waddington Cartons, has modern production facilities in the UK and in the Netherlands as well as a satellite operation in Belgium. The company designs and produces cartons, mainly for food manufacturers. Waddington said in June that its cartons operation would be offered for sale.

Jim Heilig, Low & Bonar's chief executive, said: "This acquisition, which is earnings enhancing in its first full year, provides an excellent opportunity for us to reduce our cost base, significantly strengthen our position in the UK folding carton market and establish a platform for expansion in continental Europe."

Martin Buckley, chief executive of Waddington, added: "We have concluded the sale of this least profitable part of the group quickly and at a good price."