The company said that the move had been undertaken because of poor demand for glass vials in the Puerto Rican market. While the domestic pharmaceutical market in Puerto Rico is small, its proximity to the US and tax concessions from the Government have made it a hot spot for pharmaceutical manufacturing.
The decision to close the plant comes hard on the heels of Alcan's acquisition of Interglass, a privately owned Canadian company that makes glass vials and ampoules.
"Alcan regularly reviews its business portfolio in order to ensure its long-term viability. The difficult decision to close our Cayey Tubing facility was made following a thorough review of all our business options," said Christel Bories, president and chief executive of Alcan Packaging.
The closure of the Cayey facility, which affects 62 people, should occur by 9 October, said Alcan. The plant's production lines will be redistributed to other glass tubing plants in North America. This closure does not affect the plastics packaging operations also located in Cayey.
Alcan also said it had completed the sale of its Pet Plas Packaging food plastic bottles company to Esterform Packaging, based in Tenbury Wells the UK. Pet Plas employs 90 people and operates one plant in Leeds with sales of $50.5 million in 2004.
Meanwhile, Alcan's Global Pharmaceutical Packaging business won two awards at the 18th Annual DuPont Flexible Packaging Innovation ceremony, held earlier thuis month in Philadelphia, US. The division won a Silver Award for its Autopak Sterilisation 3-ply pouch, serving the institutional medical market and a Gold Award for the new Tear Anywhere film, used primarily in medical markets.