Bemis Co. Inc. sells Vancouver plant to Hood Packaging

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter


Updated: April 4, 2014, 5:27 PM

Bemis Co. Inc.

Bemis Co. Inc. announced this week it has sold its Vancouver plant, along with three other paper packaging plants to Hood Packaging Corp., based in Mississippi.

Hood Packaging intends to continue operating the Vancouver plant, which employs about 150 people at 1401 W. Fourth Plain Blvd., said Melanie Miller, vice president and treasurer of Bemis Co., which is headquartered in Neenah, Wis.

“The (employees) have all been hired by Hood Packaging, and the company has indicated they intend to continue running these plants,” Miller said.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Bemis opened its Vancouver plant in 1947. It underwent major remodeling in 1987 and again in 1994, Miller said. The local facility primarily manufactures multi-wall paper pet food bags. It also makes bags for rice and for some non-food products.

Bemis sold off its paper division because its focus has shifted to plastics manufacturing over the last 30 years. Hood Packaging continues to concentrate on both paper and plastic.

“They’re still very focused on expanding their paper packaging division,” Miller said.

Bemis Co. sold a total of four paper packaging plants to Hood Packaging Corp., which, in addition to Vancouver, now owns former Bemis plants in Omaha, Neb.; Crossett, Ark.; and Minneapolis, Minn.

Bemis’ paper packaging division recorded sales of approximately $160 million in 2013, according to a written statement issued by XMS Capital Partners in Chicago, which handled the transaction.

“The sale of this division will allow Bemis to focus our resources on strategic opportunities in high barrier flexible packaging, medical and pharmaceutical packaging, and developing geographic markets,” Henry Theisen, Bemis Co.’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a written statement.

Officials from Hood Packaging did not immediately return phone and email messages. According to its website, the company now owns 12 paper packaging plants and seven plastic packaging plants across the United States and Canada. It was founded in 1978 as a single plant, Southern Bag Corp., Ltd., in Yazoo City, Miss.

The private company grew through acquisitions and was renamed Hood Packaging Corp. It now bills itself as the world’s third-largest supplier of multi-wall paper packaging. It also manufactures paper flexible packaging and bags, consumer plastic packaging and industrial plastic packaging at 19 plants in the U.S. and Canada.

Since selling its paper division to Hood Packaging, Bemis Co. now operates 68 plants, down from 72. The company was founded by Judson Moss Bemis in 1858 in St. Louis, Mo., as a manufacturer of printed cotton bags for food products. Now a public company, Bemis Co. is included in the S&P 500 index of stocks under the symbol BMS. The company reported net sales of $5 billion in 2013.