WestRock plans to close a St. Louis manufacturing facility come Sept. 15, the corrugated packaging company disclosed in a Missouri filing dated Friday. The St. Louis Business Journal first reported the news Monday.
The company, which has announced multiple other facility closures this past year around different parts of the U.S., is consolidating manufacturing operations within its Midwest region, a spokesperson said in an email.
The St. Louis corrugated container plant, which services customers in the food and beverage sector, is expected to cease production by mid-August. Production will be transferred to other WestRock facilities. The 52 employees losing their jobs in the closure will be offered severance and are eligible to apply for open positions at other WestRock facilities, the spokesperson said.
Other WestRock closures this summer include a corrugated container plant in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, with approximately 75 employees; a paper mill in North Charleston, South Carolina, affecting approximately 500 employees; and an Atlanta-area facility laying off 89 employees. Conversely, WestRock broke ground in March on a new corrugated box plant in Longview, Washington, which it said is expected to create approximately 40 jobs this fall.
Earlier this month, fellow paper packaging player Greif disclosed the planned closure of a South Carolina manufacturing facility, similarly citing a “network optimization process.” It’s a trend across substrates that Ball, Berry Global and others have noted at their own companies, too.
WestRock CEO David Sewell described during the company’s Q1 and Q2 earnings calls earlier this year that it planned to continue consolidation efforts, shifting production to more efficient facilities. Sewell said in May that cost savings and productivity initiatives — of which streamlined operations are one component — could result in up to $200 million worth of savings by the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30. WestRock is scheduled to share Q3 financial results on Aug. 3.