Ball Corp., an $11.6 billion-a-year maker of aluminum packaging, will build a $200 million, 180-job plant in Rome.

Can maker to build $200 million plant in Rome, adding 180 jobs

A Colorado company plans to pump $200 million into construction of a new aluminum packaging plant, adding 180 jobs to its existing operations in northwest Georgia by late next year, the governor’s office announced Wednesday.

Ball Corp., which has annual worldwide sales of about $11.6 billion, will build a plant in Rome to make aluminum cups, according to the announcement.

The company said its new plant is meant to serve a growing market for more environmentally friendly beverage packaging.

“We’re increasingly hearing from customers and consumers that they want to do the right thing for the environment, and they need more options,” John Hayes, chief executive of Ball Corp., said in a written statement.

Roughly 75% of the aluminum ever produced is still in use today, according to Ball.

The Rome plant will make aluminum cups in a range of sizes, the company said.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp praised the company’s decision to expand in Rome as a boost to manufacturing, calling it “another member of the Georgia Made family.”

Georgia currently has about 412,100 manufacturing jobs, 8.9% of the state’s employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The sector hit a high of about 557,000 jobs in the late 1990s, then began a long decline.

However, manufacturing has added about 67,000 jobs since hitting bottom in 2010.

Rome in the past has been one of the highest per-capita consumers of Coke.

The new plant, which will be operating by the fourth quarter of next year, will sit next to the company’s existing plant.

Ball became the world’s largest beverage can manufacturer in 2016 after it bought Rexam, according to AL Circle, an information site for the global aluminum industry. With that purchase, Ball accounted for about 60% of beverage cans in North America, according to the site.

The company has 17,500 employees.

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