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Vetropack resumes production in Ukraine

Vetropack, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of glass packaging, is cautiously ramping up operations again at its Ukrainian site PrJSC Gostomel near Kyiv. The company began heating up one of two remaining furnaces.

PrJSC Gostomel was severely damaged by a military attack in 2022, so significant clean-up work and repairs have been done

The production facility in Gostomel had been severely damaged during a Russian military attack at the end of February 2022. Now, with the resumption of production, the site is prepared for potential new crisis scenarios. Meanwhile, a foundation set up by the Vetropack Group is disbursing funds to Ukrainian colleagues particularly affected by the war.

From 25 May, the first melting furnace will be brought up to temperature and filled, with the first new glass likely to be produced in June. “For now, we are very happy to be able to resume production,” said Pavel Prinko, General Manager of Ukraine and Republic of Moldova Business Unit.

The heating up of one of the two intact melting furnaces in Gostomel started on 25 May 2023; however, first glass that had solidified in the furnaces was manually extracted

Vetropack is initially resuming the production of white glass for food and drinks, as this is where the company sees the greatest demand. “The domestic market has slowly been recovering, and many companies are restarting production,” said Prinko. “We expect demand for glass packaging for food and drinks to increase in 2023 by about seven per cent vs 2022, which is in line with our production capacity.” The heat-up of the second furnace is set to follow soon.

The priority in resuming operations is to protect the workforce. In addition, the site is prepared for all possible emergency scenarios. Vetropack has developed various engineering scenarios in an effort to ensure energy supply in the event of blackouts. The company remodelled the electrical distribution system and installed additional generators. Corresponding contingency plans have also been put in place for possible gas supply disruptions.

139 new employees
Until the outbreak of the war, Vetropack produced a variety of glass packaging with three furnaces and eight production lines at the Ukrainian site. On 24 February 2022, however, the company had to begin shutting down production for safety reasons. A short time later, the plant sustained severe damage – one of the three furnaces was destroyed beyond repair. Due to this damage, the company was forced to cut around two thirds of the approximately 600 jobs at the site. Vetropack has now hired 139 employees – primarily former staff of the site – to resume production.

Vetropack Foundation Gostomel disburses aid
In the summer of 2022, Vetropack set up a foundation to support employees whose house or flat was destroyed or who were seriously injured. Employees from other locations, business partners and customers donated money for this purpose – CHF 960,000 were collected in just a few months.

At the beginning of 2023, the Vetropack Gostomel Foundation began disbursing the first funds. By April 2023, Vetropack had already supported more than 50 employees.

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