MUNCIE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The U.S. regional manager for Poland-based CANPACK Group says the state’s business climate was a major factor in the company’s decision to locate its newest aluminum can production plant in Muncie. The company announced Tuesday it will initially invest $380 million to build the 862,000-square-foot facility and create 345 jobs over the next two years. Tom Johnson says the collaboration among city, county and state officials, as well as having a site ready to go also contributed to the decision.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business host Gerry Dick, Johnson said the company is bullish about the Indiana workforce.
“The commitment in Indiana to making sure that we’ve got folks available for the type of workforce that we need. I think we’re going to offer a very competitive wage. I think our benefits package is also extremely competitive and I think that we can really differentiate with our culture. Our culture is very much one that is centered around the customer and our employees and we believe that comes out in everything that we do.”
CANPACK says there is also potential for further expansion, including an additional $110 million investment and 80 more jobs, if needed. Johnson says they are seeing unprecedented growth in the aluminum can market.
“Our competitors are expanding. We’re expanding,” he said. “If we find ourselves in a position where some of our commercial partners want to sign up for additional volumes, then we’ll make the expansions to make sure that we can support the market. That’s what this is all about – entering the U.S. in a growth market and being able to support our partners that we’ve partnered with all over the globe.”
The aluminum can market has seen a massive rise in demand since the beginning of the pandemic, which has led to an aluminum can shortage that has caused companies of all types to adapt. Clay Robinson with Indianapolis-based Sun King Brewing Co. told Inside INdiana Business in March the brewery had shifted to other methods to continue selling their canned beverages.
Johnson says the demand is unlike anything he’s seen before.
“We’re in excess of 10 billion cans short in the U.S. market alone. The U.S. market is importing cans from everywhere and we’ve always been a market that’s sustained ourselves. So, we’re looking forward to adding capacity and getting back there,” he said.
Construction on the Muncie plant is expected to begin this summer, with operations getting underway in the fourth quarter of 2022.