Verallia has modernised a furnace at its VOA site in France.

The €24 million investment at the Verrerie d’Albi (VOA) site in Albi, France includes a rebuild of furnace number 1 and its three production lines.

The furnace is dedicated to extra-flint and flint glass production.

Verallia’s chairman and CEO, Jean-Pierre Floris, who inaugurated the new installation, said: “Verallia is investing in VOA to serve our historical markets and underpin our strategy of differentiation in the high-end sector.”

He said Verallia had accordingly given itself the means to strengthen its position on the small and medium-run high-end markets.

The installations will also enable VOA to extend its partnerships with many customers who have, over the years, expressed a preference for extra-flint glass, such as Bacardi and the Perrin family, event sponsors for the furnace n°1 inauguration.

The new equipment means VOA is more flexible and can ensure the continuous production of a range of bottles.

VOA is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year and employs more than 300 people. It makes 800,000 bottles a day and produces more than 350 different models a year.

The modernisation will also enhance safety and work station ergonomics, two priorities for Verallia. The plant’s employees have received up to 3,000 hours of training on the new equipment.

Considerable progress has also been made in the area of environmental protection: through better combustion and the use of special refractories, furnace n°1 consumes less energy and its emissions are limited.

Mr Floris said: “With the backing of our shareholders, we shall go on growing our business in France and worldwide.

"We shall come back to Albi to open furnace n°2’s installations that will mark a new page in the history of VOA: the total modernisation of the site, to strengthen its place in Verallia’s growth strategy.”

More than 200 people attended the inauguration of the installation, including customers, government and local authority officials, and senior executives from Verallia’s two shareholder funds, Apollo and Bpifrance.