CarnaudMetalbox, a European company that for the past two decades has made and exported to the United States decorative tin containers for food, cosmetics and beverages, yesterday opened a $2.5 million plant in Belcamp.
The Harford County plant will initially employ about 25 people and is expected to nearly double its work force during peak-demand holiday seasons -- Christmas and Easter. Within three years, the company estimates it will provide 35 to 55 jobs.
For the U.S. market, the company will draw on its store of tooling -- up to 700 sizes, shapes and designs -- to make fancy tin-plate containers for leading brands of food, cosmetics, tea, coffee, wines and liquor, candy and other products.
According to Richard Tonkyn, manager of the U.S. operation and executive vice president of promotional packaging, the Paris-based company selected the Riverside Business Park for its 50,000-square-foot plant because of its location.
The site, he said, represents the "heart of our [domestic] customer base, offers easy access to interstate highways, two railroad lines, two airports and the ports of Baltimore and Philadelphia."
The Baltimore area has long been a leader in the manufacturing of tin products, Mr. Tonkyn said, citing the Tindeco, Continental, National and American Can companies.
"This part of the state has a history of producing tin-plate containers, so the support services and subcontracting skills that will be needed are close at hand," he added.
Operating on a single eight-hour shift, the plant's two production lines can make about 4 million containers annually, Mr. Tonkyn said. Two shifts would raise the potential output to about 8 million tins.
"We are committed to the U.S.market," he said. "We are here to stay. We are encouraged by the new signs of a strengthened U.S economy and believe we can contribute to its growth as well as our own."
CMB is the third-largest packaging company in the world, with 160factories in 32 countries and more than 30,000 employees. Worldwide sales in 1992 were $5 billion.
Other divisions of CarnaudMetalbox operate 15 manufacturing plants in the United States and Canada.