Austrian Manufacturer of Plastic Packaging Items Opens Bethlehem Facility
By Colin McEvoy on November 17, 2017
An Austrian manufacturer of plastic packaging items is establishing a presence in the Lehigh Valley, establishing a 160,000 square-foot facility in Bethlehem that will create 59 new jobs over the next three years.
The company chose the Lehigh Valley because it was seeking to establish a Northeast presence to better serve customers in this region of the United States. The Lehigh Valley is located within a day’s drive of one-third of all U.S. consumers and half of all Canadian consumers.
“We are looking forward to our future in the Bethlehem area,” said Peter Irby, Director of Finance at Alpla Inc.
High performance manufacturing and food & beverage processing are two of the identified target sectors for the Lehigh Valley economy, in part due to the region’s central location, well-developed transportation infrastructure, and proximity to major Northeast markets like New York City and Philadelphia.
“It’s always great when a company chooses to invest in the Lehigh Valley and create new jobs in the region,” said Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).
“This further illustrates that manufacturing is alive and well in the Lehigh Valley,” Cunningham said. “It’s the second-largest sector of the regional economy, and makes up 70 percent of our current prospects for economic growth.”
Alpla’s announcement is another example that foreign direct investment has become increasingly important to the regional economy. About one-third of LVEDC’s current prospects are from outside the country, and 42 percent of the Lehigh Valley’s major business attraction and expansion projects in 2015 were overseas companies.
Alpla employs 18,300 people worldwide, producing custom-made packaging systems, bottles, closures, and moulded parts at 172 sites across 45 countries. The company has 1,200 employees in the United States, with 14 locations across the country.
Founded in Austria in 1955 and entering the U.S. in 2001, Alpla manufactures plastic bottles and caps, and as a variety of plastic packaging items for diverse contents including shower gel, engine oil, detergent, and lemonade.
In addition to bottles, the company manufactures caps in custom-made shapes such as hinged lids, measuring caps, two-part caps, round lids, caps for safety packaging, and sticks.
“Any time a large manufacturing company expands into Pennsylvania, it’s great news for our workers,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. “Alpla is bringing 59 new, good-paying manufacturing jobs offering great benefits to Northampton County families, and it will provide a huge boost to the local economy.”
Alpla received a funding proposal from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for a $177,000 Pennsylvania First grant and $177,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs.
The company has also been encouraged to apply or a $1.5 million low-interest loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) to assist with equipment purchases, according to the governor’s office. PIDA is currently offering historically low fixed interest rates.
Prior to the announcement of the facility, LVEDC officials held discussions with Alpla about potential financing incentives, but the company ultimately did not pursue them. The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, the economic development arm of the governor.
“Alpla is very appreciative of the efforts by the Governor’s Action Team,” Irby said. “They were responsive to our needs and easy to work with.”
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