Updated: Ball Corp. to phase out Danville facility
DANVILLE — The Ball Corp. told employees at its Danville facility Thursday morning that it would be phasing out that location by the latter half of 2014, according to Ball corporate officials.
The 118,000-square-foot plant at 400 Eastgate Drive near the Lynch exit on Interstate 74 employs 47 people, who are mostly union workers, and manufactures three-piece steel aerosol cans and ends for household products customers.
The plant opened in 1967 as Continental Can and was the first to locate in Danville's Eastgate development area. The U.S. Can Corp. later purchased the facility from Continental, and in 2006, U.S. Can sold its U.S. and Argentine operations to Ball, which included the Danville facility.
Ball said it will redeploy the Danville plant's assets to other existing company facilities and will continue to supply the plant's customers. Renee Robinson, corporate communications with Ball, said the decision to close the plant is part of the company's ongoing effort to be more efficient but did not know what other existing Ball facilities would takeover the Danville plant's work.
In February, Ball Corp. announced that it would be closing its Elgin plant by the end of this year. That 481,000-square-foot plant employs 245 and manufactures aerosol and specialty steel cans.
Vicki Haugen, president and CEO of Vermilion Advantage, said Thursday's announcement was not a surprise. She said in the past the facility employed more than 100 but had not in more than a year. She said Vermilion Advantage was aware, through its regular workforce surveys of local employers, it was on a downward spiral. Haugen said it was a strategic business decision by the Ball Corp. and not a situation in which incentives, for example, could have made a difference.
Ball said it will provide the plant's 47 employees with outplacement services, severance pay and other benefits. Danville employees have the opportunity to apply for open positions within the company.
Haugen said while even the loss of two jobs is difficult, this is a manageable number of workers for the local area to absorb, especially considering the demand among other employers for skilled manufacturing workers. So for those who don't want to move away or take retirement, she said, there should be opportunities for them within the local workforce. Haugen also said the facility is in a good location, adjacent to I-74, to find a buyer.
Ball Corp. supplies packaging for beverage, food and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corp. and its subsidiaries employ 15,000 people worldwide.