How many cartons would a company cut, if a company could cut cartons? A lot, if it's Shorewood Packaging. The company makes paperboard packaging for cosmetics, drugs, tobacco, and other consumer products in North America, Europe, and Asia. It provides conversion and finishing processes, such as hot foil stamping, die cutting, and folding, as well as sheet-fed, and Web printing. The company specializes in entertainment and multimedia packaging, including products for computer software and music. It also offers graphic design and art direction in conjunction with its packaging services. In 2012 parent International Paper merged Shorewood Packaging with Atlas Holdings' AGI World to create AGI-Shorewood.
The AGI-Shorewood merger creates one of the largest specialty packaging businesses in the world. The combined company is expected to employ about 4,000 people and operate some 24 manufacturing facilities around the globe. Atlas Holdings owns 100% of AGI-Shorewood in the US and 60% outside of it. International Paper owns a 40% of AGI-Shorewood outside of the US.
Prior to the merger, Shorewood was responding to the growing demand for digital products and diversifying its packaging options, especially in entertainment packaging for music, DVDs, and computer software. More recent additions included lighter-weight disc packaging, which reduces freight costs, materials costs, and waste, compared to traditional jewel boxes.
The company also opened a new facility near Los Angeles, perceived to be a digital market mecca. The city's proximity is part of the company's strategy to spur product speed-to-market service and account support. Shorewood Packaging also opened a new design and development center in Carlstadt, New Jersey, to deliver similar operations.
Shorewood's moves aim to piggyback on the growth of the entertainment and software industries and to offset slipping demand for the tobacco-related packaging that had previously been such an important part of its business. With an increasing number of customers shifting their packaging needs to countries with lower-cost labor, the company has shed workers and reduced production in the US and Canada. After the company stopped production of its lithographic printing operation at its Newport News facility in 2009, it announced it would close the entire facility in fall 2010 due to low customer demand and the ongoing weak economy. Also in 2009 it cut about 20% of its workforce at its Danville plant for the same reason.
Beginning in 2008, it shuttered its big-box print plant in Brockville, Ontario, that drew 85% of its production from cigarette companies. Shorewood Packaging also closed its folding carton plant in Roanoke, Virginia, as well as its plant in Springfield, Oregon.
Like its customers, Shorewood Packaging is reaching abroad. In 2008 the company formed a joint venture with Mexico's Corporativo Cartograf S.A. de C.V. to produce high-end packaging for multinational companies in Latin America. The company opened a new folding carton manufacturing facility near Shanghai that serves both domestic China and international customers in markets for cosmetics, confectionery, and OTC pharmaceuticals. In addition, it expanded its Polish facilities, reportedly to meet entertainment packaging demand in Europe. – less