Ball Packaging targets new markets with Serbian canning line

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Ball Packaging Europe has opened a new €35m production line at its Serbian plant in Belgrade, as it seeks to penetrate into “new markets”.

The company, headquartered in Germany, said its new line would increase production at the site in the Zemun district of Belgrade from 750m to over 1.5bn aluminium cans a year, and create 50 new jobs.

Factory director David Banjai said: “New investment, aside from confirming the strength and efficiency of our business, leads to growth and expansion into new markets.”

Favourable trade arrangements

Cans produced at the site were principally exported to 12 European countries (85 per cent to neighbouring countries according to Ball) at the current time, Banjaj said.

“Now the aim is to further expand our business into new markets and also to take advantage of favourable trade arrangements with Serbia’s neighbouring countries,” he added.

John Hayes, president and ceo of Ball Corporation said: “The factory in Serbia has so far justified our investment. We hope we will continue to do business here successfully into the future.”

Gerrit Heske, president of Ball Packaging Europe added that he hoped the company’s investment in Serbia would encourage other concerns to invest in the country.

“The plant in Zemun has previously achieved excellent results and features on the list of the most successful Ball factories in Europe,” Heske said.

Large greenfield development

Serbian president Boris Tadic opened the new line last Friday, and Ball said the investment was a significant contribution to Serbian foreign trade and development.

Established in 2004, Ball Packaging’s Belgrade site has been described as the largest greenfield development in southeastern Europe by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

According to the Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency, Ball originally built its Serbian facility to “keep pace” with forecast double-digit growth in demand for cans from nations such as Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and Croatia.

A Ball Corporation subsidiary, Ball Packaging Europe employs 2,800 staff across 12 sites in Serbia, Germany, France, Great Britain, Holland and Poland.