Reasons for the closure include weakening demand for beverage cartons across Europe set against overcapacity at its other Tetra Pak factories.
The company’s sales were 16% lower last year in central and northern Europe compared to 2007.
Mobility Support Team
Andy Gibson, supply chain director, Tetra Pak, Moerdijk, confirmed the announcement and said the news had landed heavily on all its colleagues.
“Today’s decision is a very tough one to communicate to the outstanding workforce we have at our factory in Moerdijk and does not, in any way, reflect on their hard work or excellent performance,” he said
“Compared to the past, consumers are drinking less dairy products in Central and North Europe. Milk in particular has lost its traditional place at many breakfast tables. As a consequence the demand for beverage cartons is declining in this geographic region.
"The decreasing demand, and resulting overcapacity at the Tetra Pak factories in Europe, combined with the successful pilot of a flexo-process based printing technology, has led to the start of the consultation on the proposed closure of our Moerdijk-based offset factory."
Gibson added the firm will sit down with staff representatives to put a social plan into place including a Mobility Support Team, which will develop an outplacement programme with each member of staff to make the transition into alternative employment.
Moerdijk is currently the only Tetra Pak roll-fed factory to offer offset print quality but after piloting a different technology, it will provide this service from its other factories using flexo-process printers.
It plans to move its Benelux Commercial Operations staff currently located at the factory to another office in the surrounding area.
New print technology
With the roll-out of its new technology underway, the company will stop production from Moerdijk by the end of 2014.
“With competition growing ever-more fierce, the proposed closure of Moerdijk is seen as a crucial step in strengthening the company’s regional competitiveness, helping to ensure the long-term sustainable growth of our European business,” said Gibson.
“Consultation with the local Works Council is under way and, subject to the outcome of the consultation process, the company intends to close the factory before the end of 2014, with the loss of around 215 positions.
“The Tetra Pak management and the works council will agree on a reconciliation of interests and develop a social plan, to provide support for those employees affected.”