A maker of plastic fragrance and lotion containers and pump tops is jettisoning nearly 200 Connecticut jobs by closing plants in Stratford and Torrington, in a decision that predated the coronavirus pandemic.
AptarGroup employed 14,000 people globally at last report including about 2,400 in North America, with the company having its headquarters in Crystal Lake, Ill., and additional Northeast manufacturing locations in Congers, N.Y. and Eatontown, N.J.
Aptar disclosed in February its plans to close the Connecticut facilities at a cost of roughly $20 million, without stating at the time how many jobs would be impacted. According to a Connecticut Department of Labor filing, the company plans to shift much of the work to Mexico, with plans to cut 100 jobs in Stratford and 90 in Torrington.
The company’s Stratford facility is adjacent to Sikorsky Memorial Airport, with the Torrington facility is just off Route 8 on Ella Grasso Avenue. Both plants produce containers like fragrance and skin-care lotion pumps, according to Katie Reardon, an Aptar spokesperson.
“We do not take these decisions lightly and our focus is on helping affected employees through this change, as part of our commitment to treating our people fairly and with respect,” Reardon stated in an email response to a query.
Some 7,000 product manufacturers use containers from Aptar, with sales dominated by the pharmaceutical industry but extending to the consumer products sector as well, including Beiersdorf, Nestle and Unilever which have Connecticut offices and other giants like KraftHeinz, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble.
Aptar’s competitors include Silgan, which has its headquarters in Stamford and a plant in Deep River that makes plastic containers.
Aptar is coming off a year when profits hit a record $242 million amid a 3 percent increase in revenue to above $2.8 billion. As coronavirus spread globally in the first three months of 2020, Aptar remained profitable with earnings of $55 million, despite declining sales in key product categories like “on-the-go” beverage containers and cosmetics tubes.
The company has undertaken a number of additional expense cuts since the advent of the pandemic, including temporary furloughs and reducing work subcontracted out to other businesses.
“There’s no question ... that we have upside on the other end of this low point, and that there is pent-up demand,” said CEO Stephan Tanda, speaking last month on a conference call with investment analysts. “People want to get back to the salon — people want to get back out there. And clearly, some demand is lost, but there will be significant pent-up demand to be caught up with.”
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman