Austrian company acquires Gehl Foods operation

By Alex Beld - Conley News Service

July 19, 2017

The exterior of ALPLA on Rail Way in West Bend. The plastic packaging company purchased the bottling manufacturing plant from Gehl Foods in June.
John Ehlke/Conley News Service

WEST BEND - The Gehl Foods Bottling operation on Rail Way in West Bend was acquired by Alpla Inc., an Austrian-based company, on June 1 for $5.4 million. This included the building, assets and employees.

According to a news release from Alpla, the facility, which was built in 2007, is just over than 100,000 square feet and has 21 employees. The worldwide company with 17,300 employees and 160 locations expects to increase production in West Bend.

"The acquisition is part of Alpla's growth strategy to gain access to key geographies within the North American market," the Alpla news release said.

Another change the company expects to bring is in the technology at the plant. The plant currently uses extrusion blow molding and Alpla intends add injection stretch blow molding.

ISBM allows for high volume production, reduces restrictions on bottle design and can require more floor space. The company describes itself as one of the leading companies in packaging solutions.

The bottles currently produced at the facility are used for filling in the food and dairy category, according to the release.

Both the city of West Bend and Economic Development Washington County worked with Alpla to facilitate the deal. Alpla has more recently acquired facilities in Italy and South Africa.

Gehl Foods didn't respond to a request for a comment on why the facility was sold. In May the company went before the Germantown Plan Commission to talk about the rezoning of land for constructing 10 40-foot silos at their Main Street property.

The Gehl Foods company was acquired by Wind Point Partners in March of 2015. At that time Eric Beringause was named the president and CEO of the company.