US packaging group Sonoco exits northern market with closure of Lurgan site

South Carolina-based firm’s Co Armagh facility is now up for sale, with an asking price of £1.5m

Exterior image of Sonoco's Lurgan facility.
Operations ceased at the Sonoco site in Lurgan on June 28.

US packaging group Sonoco is in the process of exiting the Northern Ireland market following the closure of its operation in Lurgan.

The factory at Wenlock Road ceased production on June 28.

It’s understood a redundancy process has already been completed, with a total of 19 jobs lost.

It comes just over a decade after Sonoco shut its operation just across the border in Carrickmacross, and leaves Sonoco’s Thermosafe operation in Mallow, Co Cork, as it’s last foothold on the island of Ireland.

The loss of the Lurgan packaging business is the latest blow to the manufacturing industry in the north Armagh area.

The Sonoco Building on Wenlock Road dates back to the 1960s.
The Sonoco Building on Wenlock Road dates back to the 1960s.

Glen Dimplex announced plans to close its Portadown facility in February, with around 200 jobs at risk, while hundreds of jobs have been lost in recent years within the Thompson Aero Seating operation in Craigavon.

It’s believed the decision to close Sonoco’s entire Lurgan operation came from the United States in April, taking the company’s European division by surprise.

The Co Armagh facility had been supplying DuPont in Derry and a major agri-feed firm.

Sonoco’s warehouse building in Lurgan, which dates back to the 1960s, has now been put for sale, with an asking price of £1.5 million.

The asset, which is being marketed by CBRE NI, includes 60,000 sq ft of warehouse space on a 5.5-acre site.’

Originally founded in 1899, South Carolina headquartered Sonoco recorded $6.8 billion in sales in 2023.

It employs around 22,000 people across 300 operations worldwide.

But the latest financial disclosure from the packaging group revealed a sharp fall in profit.

It recorded net sales of $1.64 billion in the first quarter of 2024, a 5% drop on the $1.73bn from same quarter last year.

Operating profit fell by 51% to £112m in the same period.

Interior of empty factory warehouse.
It's believed Sonoco ceased operations at its Lurgan facility on June 28.