Owens-Illinois (O-I) has bought Bennu Glass container plant, based in Washington State, USA.
Bennu’s plant, in Kalama, employs about 90 people and primarily makes wine bottles but also produces 22-ounce beer bottles.
“The acquisition enhances O-I’s capabilities in the growing wine market on the West Coast and the important craft beer market,” O-I spokesman Ryan McCarthy said.
McCarthy said the plant will be renamed O-I Kalama.
O-I is the world’s largest container glass manufacturer and employs about 21,100 people in 75 plants across 21 countries. It had annual revenues of $6.8 billion in 2014.
The Cameron family of Pennsylvania opened the Kalama plant in 2008. But the plant’s pioneering electric melter couldn’t reliably produce usable coloured glass, and the plant was closed in September 2009.
Bennu Glass purchased the plant for $64.8 million at auction in March 2010 and spent $35 million to get the plant running again. The biggest expense was a $13 million furnace fueled by liquid oxygen and natural gas, which heats the glass batch to 2,700 degrees.
Dwayne Wendler, a former Owens-Illinois employee who came out of retirement to manage the Bennu plant, will continue to run the plant under O-I ownership, McCarthy said.
Kalama is about 120 miles south of Seattle and about 35 miles north of Portland
Bennu Glass was profiled in the July/August 2014 issue of Glass International, page 10.