Manufacturing News

Sorbent to cut staff, close and offshore some operations

Manufacturing News

By Peter Roberts

The Sorbent Paper Company has called for staff to nominate for voluntary redundancy in preparation for the closure and offshoring of some operations at its Box Hill, Victoria plant.

The company did not say how many of its 400 Australian staff would be affected, however it said voluntary redundancies were the first in a move to a ‘hybrid business model’.

A hybrid business model appears to involve importing some of its well known Livi, Sorbent, Sorbent Professional and Handee napkins and facial tissues.

This would combine the benefits of local manufacturing with the advantages of international competitiveness, the company told employees.

Sorbent and its sister company, US-based Solaris have not announced the moves publicly, however are conferring with trade unions.

Sorbent said:

  • The Box Hill PM3 and CW114 machines will shut and cease operation on 1 October
  • The Box Hill Napkin 20 machine will relocate overseas in November, 2023 and the 22 machines will relocate overseas in Q1, 2024
  • The Box Hill Facial F310 machine will relocate overseas in Q1, 2024
  • And the Greystanes, Sydney Facial Line will relocate overseas in Q4, 2023.

Sorbent told its employees: “While some of our operations will be shifting, we remain committed to local manufacturing and investment in new assets.

“All other assets across Box Hill and Greystanes including Box Hill’s PM4 TAD technology, CW117/Cw118 and Greystanes UTT and Future converting lines will continue to operate.”

The PM4 TAD technology is involved in tissue making, while Universal Tissue Technology (UTT) is an Italian company in the tissue industry.

The closures will be partially offset by the purchase and installation of a new Converting 2.8m wide winder at Box Hill to be commissioned in 2025.

The company told staff in a memo published on its Facebook page that: “As many of you are aware our business has long been committed to local manufacturing and investing in state of the art equipment.

“…However, considering the changing dynamics of our industry, and some outside of our control, we have determined that a hybrid business model is necessary for us to be a sustainably profitable business.”

Sorbent said that further information would be provided shortly.

“Please be assured that we will support those affected by these changes, and work with the union to provide assistance during this transition with our EAP provider, outplacement services and financial advice.”

Picture: Sorbent Paper Company

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